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What Did You Say?

By J 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. 

Information provided by Self Help for Hard of Hearing

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