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Hearing Problems in Loved Ones

By Jennifer B. Buckley

Do you find the need to repeat yourself more often than not to the person you are caring for? Does your talking level closely resemble your yelling level just so your care recipient can hear you? Are you speaking so slowly that you end up losing your train of thought? It is possible that the person you are caring for is one of the 28 million Americans suffering from hearing loss.

Unlike incontinence, hearing loss is a natural sign of aging due to a change in the structure of the ear. After age 65, one out of three Americans at least partially loses their hearing. However, it is not only a result of the aging process. There are other causes of hearing loss that include:

Build-up of earwax
Chronic middle or inner ear infections
Medical conditions like diabetes or a brain tumor
High blood pressure
Exposure to excessive noise like heavy machinery
A blood clot in the nerves of the ear
High blood pressure
Tinnitus- (a common syndrome indicated by a ringing sensation in the ear)
Meniere’s Disease- (excess fluid in canals of the inner ear)
Before deciding upon the kind of treatment the person you are caring for should receive; their doctor should determine the cause of their hearing loss. But, as a caregiver, you can provide some helpful hearing care hints to your care recipient to help them communicate more easily.
Look at people when they are talking to you
Begin relying on your sense of sight by installing a flashing bulb on doorbells, telephones and fire alarms. 
Limit background noise during conversations
Sit in the front row during church, school or in an auditorium
Look into buying an assisted hearing dog that responds to certain noises
Check out hearing aids. You can buy one on a 30- day trial period
Ask about assisted hearing devices before you buy a television
Helping your care recipient to hear better will not only benefit them, it will benefit you greatly. 
 


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