It is Better Hearing and Speech month, so we invited Annette Mazevski, Au.D., Ph.D., to author an article for Senior Care Corner®. Annette is the Manager of Technology Assessment at Oticon, a hearing aid manufacturer. She has more than 15 years of experience as an audiologist and researcher, during which she has guided hearing aid wearers through the fitting process and conducted hearing health research.
Is your loved one having trouble hearing but reluctant to try hearing aids? They’re not alone. Among seniors with hearing loss, fewer than one in three has ever used them.
And that’s unfortunate.
Numerous studies have shown a correlation between untreated hearing loss in older adults and a greater risk of cognitive decline. When hearing is compromised, the brain has to work harder to process information and struggles to fill in unheard consonants and syllables. Conversation becomes more difficult, and your loved one may withdraw from the social connections that are so important to brain health.
This isolation and resulting loneliness can increase their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The good news is that a solution as simple as wearing hearing aids can significantly reduce the risk of cognitive decline associated with hearing loss. Importantly, hearing aids can restore the ability to communicate, so your loved one stays socially active and engages in other brain-stimulating activities.
When seniors actively wear hearing aids, they’re more likely to connect with others, one of the primary ways to stimulate the brain.
A Healthy Hearing Check
Is a hearing evaluation part of your loved ones’ regular health screenings? If they haven’t had their hearing checked, help them see that they’re missing an important component of everyday health. Talk with them about scheduling an appointment with a hearing care professional. A hearing evaluation conducted by qualified hearing care professional is painless and non-invasive.
During the appointment, the hearing specialist will not only verify if your loved one has hearing loss but also explain the kinds of difficulties they will experience with the severity of their hearing loss. The hearing specialist will then guide them as they choose a hearing solution that is specifically tailored to their hearing loss and preferences.
Your loved one may be surprised to find that today’s hearing aids offer a range of discreet styles and attractive benefits. The newest technology in hearing aids is designed to carefully process speech, so it is presented to the brain as clearly and accurately as possible – the way the brain is best able to understand it. Oticon hearing aids with BrainHearing technology support the hard work the brain does, enabling people to hear better, with less effort so they can participate more actively in life.
Your loved one can also choose from a variety of advanced hearing aid features and functionalities, such as the ability to connect to cell phones, stream music and integrate with smart home devices.
Support Your Loved One with Hearing Loss
As people grow older, the shift from hearing well to hearing difficulties can be so gradual, they may not realize how much they are missing. They may unconsciously adjust their everyday activities and social interactions to cope with hearing difficulties, gradually diminishing their ability to live their life to its fullest.
You can be a valuable ally in helping your loved one see the benefits of better hearing. Regular hearing healthcare and actively wearing hearing aids can help your loved one stay engaged in life and connected to the people and activities they love.
It will be a win-win for all of you!