July 25, 2022

How Care For Older Adults Can Be Improved With Hearing Loss Treatment

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How Care For Older Adults Can Be Improved With Hearing Loss Treatment

As we age, we become more vulnerable to hearing loss. Significant hearing loss affects about one in four adults over age 65. By the time you age 75 that statistic doubles, with over half of seniors over age 75 experiencing significant hearing loss.  At age 80, 80% of the population has noticeable hearing disability. Age-related hearing loss, also called presbycusis, develops as a result of cumulative hearing damage over time and the delicate apparatus of the inner ear becoming more brittle with age.

Because age-related hearing loss is so widespread, its important that care for seniors and aging populations takes hearing loss into consideration. With foresight, hearing loss, both treated and untreated can be taken into account, especially in critical settings like medical care and services.

Hearing Loss And Patient Care

One of the most important factors to consider with age-related hearing loss is how it limits speech comprehension. While sound can still be heard, speech often sounds muffled or mumbling. Conversations with more than two people can become difficult to follow, as can separating conversations from loud or distracting background noise.

Unfortunately, health centers don’t often prioritize good environments for people with hearing challenges. Doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and clinics can all be noisy, confusing spaces. Oftentimes care providers don’t review enough with their patients to make sure they are understood.

The effectiveness of much medical care depends on good communication. Medical providers need their patients to properly understand diagnosis and treatment for health care to be most effective. When hearing loss gets in the way of understanding doctors, nurses and other medical specialists, vital information gets lost. Instructions for physical therapy or medication may be misinterpreted. Important health choices may be presented without making sure the patient has heard and understood what they are deciding.

Health Hazard

When medical information isn’t correctly understood the result can be harmful. Changing lifestyle habits and adherence to outpatient care suggestions already present some challenges. When the medical advice is misinterpreted on top of this, it makes proper care even more difficult.

Untreated hearing loss is also a condition that contributes to other medical concerns. Hearing loss is linked to depression, anxiety, social isolation, heart disease and dementia among other disorders. People with hearing loss log more visits to doctors than their hearing counterparts. The worst part is, leaving hearing loss untreated may lead it to worsen and can make adjusting to treatment harder.

A Better Medical Experience

To improve the access to complete care, health providers need to think about creating spaces conducive to quiet listening, as well as providing assistive devices for patients without hearing aids. In noisy and chaotic environments, such as emergency rooms, communication with patients with hearing loss can be improved when information is not just provided verbally, but in another form as well such as writing, captioning or through another assistive method.

In quieter environments, assistive devices can still help with better communication. There is also an imperative to make spaces friendlier to challenged speech. Speaking with doors or curtains closed can help block excess noise. Also, providers should speak directly to the patient to ease lip reading, and they shouldn’t try to perform other tasks while speaking – it can create extra sound and distraction.

For aftercare, everything a doctor or provider recommends should be provided in clear, easy-to-read written instructions that can be referred back to. Written instructions are already a part of any prescribed medication, and deepening the link to all medical advice keeps things from slipping through the cracks.

Providing hearing aids for patients with untreated hearing loss may be challenging, but other assistive devices may prove to be a more natural choice. Audio amplifiers or captioners can help make sure speech is better understood.

The Hearing Spa in Bradenton and Sarasota

Leaving hearing loss untreated worsens your hearing and your quality of life, but finding treatment can rehabilitate your hearing and curb further damage. When you are facing hearing issues your first step is to seek treatment at the Hearing Spa. Here at Hearing Spa, we can test your hearing and create a detailed profile of problems and potential solutions. We carry a wide selection of top-quality hearing aids and assistive devices and love matching the right device to your specific needs. Treat your hearing right at Hearing Spa!


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