While our 90 year old mother sat in the back seat of the car, my sister and I chatted as we drove for a weekend outing. Mother's comments and questions regarding our front seat discussion did not seem to convey that her hearing aid was malfunctioning – as she often complained about when we had to repeat complete and often intricate conversations to her. My sister and I were convinced that mother's hearing was very often selective – hearing only what she really wanted to hear and when she wanted to hear it. We understand this is all part of the journey – after all at 90 years of age she continues to amaze us all with her energy and enthusiasm for life; nonetheless the constant needed repetitions and misunderstandings can often lead to frustration and even feelings of isolation.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that “hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults...with one in three people older than 60 and half of those older than 85 have hearing loss. Hearing problems can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor's advice, to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms. They can also make it hard to enjoy talking with friends and family. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.”
Because hearing loss in older adults is so prevalent and can impact one’s health and independence, it is crucial that family caregivers understand the importance of having the “right fit” for a hearing device as well as knowing about all the different resources available for the hearing impaired.
mmLearn.org is committed to providing the most up-to-date information to assist caregivers in feeling confident in their role of caring for their loved ones. Dr. Jane Watson, Audiologist presents “Can You Hear Me Now?” a presentation that covers different resources including telephone amplifying devices, personal listening systems as well as other important aspects of understanding hearing loss and what can be done to improve hearing loss. Watch this video on hearing loss and other videos for caregivers at mmLearn.org.