What to Do When Your Parents Start to Lose Hearing

The holidays are right around the corner, promising extra time with extended relatives and special moments with your closest family. As the generations gather, however, the holidays can also be a stark reminder of how your parents or older relatives have aged over the last year. Perhaps their hair is a little grayer or they move a little more slowly. Or maybe they didn’t hear half of what you just said.

A loved one’s gradual hearing loss seems to become ever more apparent at family get-togethers, when the noise and chaos makes their silence more deafening. This can be an emotional and startling moment for both you and your loved one as you recognize the full impact of their hearing loss.

A quarter of Americans 65 years and older will suffer from some level of hearing loss, but a significant number of them will not seek help for a variety of reasons, including social stigma, pride, or lack of access. Adults experiencing hearing loss will wait, on average, 5-7 years before considering a hearing aid, and only 1 in 5 who could benefit from a hearing aid will actually use one.

What are the symptoms of hearing loss?

If you are concerned that your loved one may be experiencing hearing loss, start paying close attention for some of the usual signs and symptoms, including:

  1. Unresponsiveness. Someone who cannot hear well is less likely to engage in conversation or social interaction. If you notice a loved one being unusually quiet or unengaged, or asking frequently for you to repeat yourself, it may be time for a hearing test.
  2. Frustration. Hearing loss is incredibly frustrating and may cause a loved one to avoid things they used to enjoy because they are unable to hear as well. They may be more irritable than usual, or lose their temper more quickly when they are unable to hear an answer or understand what is going on around them.
  3. Listening to things to a higher volume, such as the TV, radio, or telephone ringer. A louder-than-normal TV or unresponsiveness to a telephone ringing are signs that your loved one’s hearing is on the decline.

I think my loved one has trouble hearing. Now what?

When left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolationism, depression, or cognitive and emotional decline. However, the individual suffering from hearing loss is often the last to notice and, chances are, will not respond positively when asked about it. Hearing loss is a sign of aging and can threaten your loved one’s independence, so it should be addressed with care and tact.

  1. Be gentle. Explain what you have been noticing and give specific examples. Express your concern for their well-being and invite them to share their own feelings about the situation. Hearing loss can be emotional for some people, so allowing them the opportunity to talk through it may make them more receptive to your help.
  2. Suggest a hearing test. Offer to help set up the appointment or even assist with some of the cost, if you can. In addition to accepting both appointments and walk-ins at their Oklahoma City and Norman locations, HearAgain provides mobile hearing screenings and in-home services throughout Oklahoma, making it easy for your loved one to be tested.
  3. Go with your loved one to the appointment, if necessary. Let them know that you support them and that their health is a priority. Reassure them that hearing loss is common but manageable, and that the goal is help them maintain their independence.

HearAgain has been helping Oklahomans cope with hearing loss for more than 30 years, and we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the thousands of people who suffer from hearing loss each year.

As an authorized distributor of all major hearing aid brands and with convenient locations in Oklahoma City and Norman, we are the Oklahoma City metro’s top-rated provider for hearing aids, services, and screenings, including the latest technology in digital, Bluetooth, and wireless hearing devices. We take the time to find the best device for your loved one’s needs and budget, make sure the hearing aids are fitted properly and comfortably, and provide quality follow-up services, such as on-site repair and lifetime cleaning.

Don’t let your loved one spend another day in silence. Fill out our contact form or call us toll-free at (855) 748-5920 to find out more and to schedule a free hearing test. You can make an appointment, take advantage of our mobile screening opportunities, or simply walk in. We even offer in-home services for house-bound individuals. Call today so your loved one can hear again.