What To Consider Before Giving Hearing Aids As Gifts

Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions that can affect older adults. According to data gathered by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), nearly 25% of seniors aged 65 to 74 have disabling hearing loss, while 50% of older adults who are 75 years and above are suffering from the same condition. For some seniors, being able to talk and hear is essential for a happy life, which is why younger people may think that getting an elderly relative some hearing aids as a holiday present this year could be just the thing to make him or her smile. However, there are several things that you should consider before giving hearing aids as gifts to your senior relative, so keep these in mind before purchasing hearing aids for your loved one.

Some elderly people refuse to wear hearing aids

According to experts, of the 26.7 million people over 50 with a hearing impairment, only 14% choose to wear hearing aids. It has been said that the primary refusal for wearing a hearing aid is denial, as many older adults refuse to admit that they have a hearing problem. Some also think that it’s normal to lose hearing ability as they age. Vanity can also be a huge factor why some older people refuse to be seen wearing devices in their ears and they would rather spend money on unnecessary purchases instead. Moreover, some adults who have worn poor quality hearing aids in the past may have been unimpressed with these devices and refused to wear them ever since. So how do you convince your loved one to give hearing aids or other hearing solutions another try? Try being calm, reasonable, and let your relative know the advantages of wearing a hearing aid.

It enables your elderly relative to have more fun in life

Wearing a hearing aid makes it easier for your elderly relative to have more fun in life, especially when engaging in outdoor activities for seniors. Watching a play, going to an outdoor concert at the park, or exercising with friends is more enjoyable when one is able to fully appreciate the sights and sounds of one’s surroundings. Tell your loved one how much fun he or she can have while listening to his or her favorite songs on the radio or watching a new movie with the family.

It keeps your loved one safe from harm

If your elderly relative is living alone, remind him that wearing a hearing aid allows him to be safe as he can hear if an intruder is trying to break into his home. Being able to hear well gives one enough time to call for help before it’s too late.

It can prevent loneliness and social isolation

Not being able to hear and communicate well can cause a senior to become lonely and socially isolated, which presents various health risks such as dementia and may even increase the risk of early death. Good hearing enables one to communicate and understand other people better, which can help to prevent social isolation.

Lastly, remind your elderly loved one that hearing aids now available in different styles and sizes and come with advanced technology for added clarity and better sound quality. Once your senior relative agrees to wear a hearing aid, let him take a free hearing exam and have him try several hearing aid styles to see what suits him best. The gift of hearing may be the best gift that you can give to your loved one this Christmas, so keep these pointers in mind before making a purchase.

Written by: Sally Writes

 

Did you just make the jump to get hearing aids? If so, congratulations!

Hearing loss is a natural part of the aging process and this step in getting hearing aids will help improve your ability to communicate. But with everything in the world, nothing is absolutely perfect.

First, there is going to be an adjustment period. You might hear sounds that you haven’t heard in some time, especially if you waited to get your hearing tested.  Hearing aids can only amplify the sounds. So understand that some sounds may sound slightly different than they did before.

Many hearing professionals say that it will take 30 to 90 days for you to get used to the hearing aid. Stick with it! Most people do not wear their hearing aids because of unrealistic expectations. So be patient with yourself and the device.

what-to-expect-when-wearing-hearing-aids

When you first wear your hearing aids, expect there to be some discomfort. Make sure that the fit is comfortable before you leave the office, but understand they’re like a new pair of shoes and may just need some getting used to. If this persists, contact your audiologist to make sure the fit is correct.

In the beginning, the amplification can seem overwhelming. Your own voice may sound different and things around you may seem too loud. Many hearing professionals suggest wearing the hearing aids slowly for shorter periods of time in a quieter environment to get used to them. Then gradually start to work up to noisy places and environments. Your brain will eventually learn to understand the amplified sound that the hearing aids are producing and it will not seem as loud.

Remember that not everything will be perfectly clear with the hearing aids and you may still miss some parts of the conversation. But in the end, the hearing aids will help to amplify the sound for you to hear better.

Dementia Linked To Hearing Loss, But There Is Hope

Losing the ability to hear is seen by many as an inconvenience, but science is beginning to show that hearing loss can profoundly affect health. Studies have found evidence that hearing loss can lead to the onset of dementia and worsen existing symptoms. The research is unsettling, but not damning.  Despite the bleak news, it is not without hope. Increased understanding of the links between hearing loss and dementia can lead to solutions.

How Strong Is the Link Between the Two? 

It is important to note the difference between a link and a cause. Simply because someone suffers from hearing loss does not mean they will develop dementia. However, the study shows that seniors who have hearing loss are three times as likely to develop dementia eventually.  Other studies add more credence to the dementia and hearing loss correlation. One found that living with noise pollution puts patients at a higher risk for dementia. The farther away from traffic-heavy roads patients were, the less their risk.

How Does Hearing Loss Cause Dementia? 

The possible causes of dementia are still not concretely defined, but researchers have discovered many possible contributing factors. Researchers believe that the slow loss of hearing puts extra strain on the brain as it attempts to process unclear sounds. An overstressed brain is a weak brain, which is more susceptible to degeneration. Some scientists have also suggested other, less direct possible causes. There is a clear link between isolation and lack of socialization and the onset of dementia. Hearing loss commonly causes its victims to become more withdrawn, a known dementia risk factor.

Can A Hearing Aid Help? 

Now that they have found the correlations, scientists are preparing for more studies to determine if a hearing aid can directly combat the onset of dementia or lessen the symptoms associated with it. As of yet, no one can definitively say that a hearing aid can help, but researchers are optimistic about what they will find. The leader of the study that found the correlation between hearing loss and dementia said: “Treating hearing loss could potentially help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia…” Also, the increased risk of dementia due to social isolation is real, and a hearing aid will most definitely help with that.

Hope For The Future 

It may be distressing to find yet another potential cause of dementia, but this is in fact great news. It is better to understand than be left in the dark, and fortunately, effective solutions for hearing loss already exist.