7 Healthy Hearing Tips for the Massachusetts Senior

old-man-struggling-to-hear-in-capeAre you missing parts of the conversation when you get together with friends? Do you find yourself wanting to tell cashiers and waiters to speak up?

You’re not alone! About one in five of all adults in the U.S. have some level of hearing loss. And among those over 65, the figure is closer to a third. Hearing loss can result in isolation and interfere with independent living in Massachusetts.

What Can Medicine Do?

Some types of hearing loss, called conductive, happens when sound waves have trouble reaching your inner ear due to wax buildup, fluid or problems with the eardrum. In most cases, treatment or surgery can help.

But when it is sensorineural hearing loss, the damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve means the problem is most likely permanent. In this case, you can get help with a hearing aid or learn methods to cope.

Tinnitus is a common complaint among seniors, whether living in nursing homes in Fall River MA or in their own homes. If you have tinnitus, which exacerbates hearing loss, it is wise to schedule a checkup with your doctor. The medical cause of the ringing and roaring sound in your ear is still not unclear, but in some cases medication can help. And small devices called maskers often make it less noticeable to people dealing with it. Smoking and alcohol seem to make it worse.

Tips to Handle Hearing Loss

  1. Schedule a hearing exam regularly. This tells you if the problem is getting worse and helps you maintain the hearing you still have.
  2. Get fitted for a hearing aid if the doctor and audiologist recommend one. Audiologists recommend that you use it all your waking hours and get them adjusted twice a year.
  3. Don’t be embarrassed. Let people know you are hard of hearing. This lets them adjust their tone and speak more clearly to you.
  4. Be persistent. If you still have trouble following the conversation, tell them. People can’t help you unless they know there is a problem. Try to feel comfortable asking a person to reword a sentence, to repeat what they have said and not to shout.
  5. Watch the expression on the face of the person you are speaking with and notice their gestures. By giving you context, it will help you figure out what they are saying.
  6. Turn off the radio and TV when you aren’t actually listening. This removes background noise that can interfere with understanding what is being said.
  7. Position yourself to have the best chance possible to hear what is going on. At a restaurant, avoid sitting by the kitchen. At a party, stand away from large groups that are noisy. Instead, talk to one or two people in a quiet corner.
  8. (Bonus Tip). Investigate technology that can help. Use a phone that has adjustable sound and is made for the hearing impaired. iPhone, iPads and Android devices all have apps that are designed for those with hearing loss. They make it easier to be entertained, communicate and network. HearingLink and other websites offer suggestions.

What other tips do you use for dealing with hearing loss? We'd love to hear them. Please share in the comments below!




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