HEALTH AND WELLNESS

The audiologists at the Center for Hearing Ltd. know how much hearing loss can affect a person--both physically and emotionally.

Facilities are located at 4300 Rogers Ave. in Fort Smith. For more information about hearing loss and treatment options, telephone 479 785-3277 or visit CenterForHearing.net. Following are excerpts from a recent article at HealthyHearing.com--How Hearing Loss Affects Seniors. 

Imagine being cut off from communication with your loved ones. Conversations happen around you but you can’t really participate, at least not like you used to. It becomes easier to just stay home than to try to go to a party or a noisy restaurant, because it is too frustrating to try and hear what your friends are saying. That is the unfortunate reality of hearing loss for many seniors every day.

Seniors with untreated hearing loss report a lower quality of life than those without hearing loss or those whose hearing loss has been treated with hearing aids. The emotional factors involved are a significant part of the problem. Hearing loss adds to the perception that an older person is “slow” or losing their faculties, which is usually not the case. This negative perception from others can then lead to a negative self-perception, which in turn leads to lower self-esteem, frustration and even depression.

Stress is a normal part of everyday life, but for seniors with hearing loss it becomes an extra challenge. An elderly person with a spouse in the hospital, for example, is already under a lot of stress, but imagine if that senior is having difficulty hearing the doctor’s words about his medical condition or necessary follow up care. Financial matters, travel or even matters of personal safety, challenging even for those of us with typical hearing, can be even more scary and confusing if an older person is unable to hear clearly.

Another unique problem faced by older people with hearing loss is that culturally, hearing loss is often written off as just a normal part of aging. True, age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is slow to progress; but because of its slow progression, seniors, their family members and their doctors are often slower to acknowledge hearing loss, and do not take it seriously. The average amount of time between noticing hearing loss and seeking treatment is 10 years.

Hearing loss can also take a toll on the physical health of the elderly, whether in the form of diminished personal safety, disease or falls. Those with hearing loss might have difficulty hearing an alarm or a siren, or they might not hear someone shouting a warning. They might not hear a doctor’s instructions regarding medication or other vital medical information. And studies have shown that, due to balance issues, those with untreated hearing loss are three times more likely to suffer falls than those without.

The social isolation that often accompanies hearing loss can also be detrimental. Social isolation due to hearing loss has also been linked to higher rates of cognitive decline in the elderly.

In short, hearing loss affects every aspect of life for seniors, from physical well-being to emotional health and family relationships. Fortunately the solution might lie in just one easy call to a hearing healthcare professional. If you are a senior citizen, seeking treatment for your hearing loss can help you re-engage in life once again. Don’t miss out on another important moment.


Reprinted with permission from www.HealthyHearing.com. To read the entire piece, visit the website.

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Colleen Perry

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