Tips For Communicating With A Hearing Impaired Senior
If you think someone you love has a new or worsening hearing problem, suggest they see a doctor for a hearing test. A specialist can determine the cause of their hearing issue, offer potential solutions and recommend techniques for better communication that will help them navigate social situations and maintain their quality of life.
How Do Doctors Diagnose It
Hearing loss can be difficult to diagnose in infants and babies because they haven’t yet developed communication skills. All babies are screened before they leave the hospital to see if they have hearing loss. Sometimes parents may begin to notice that the baby doesn’t respond to loud noises or to the sound of voices, or has a delay in speech.
Certain symptoms in teens should prompt a trip to the doctor. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, you should let your parents or doctor know if:
- You feel that people mumble or that their speech is not clear, or you hear only parts of conversations when people are talking.
- You often ask people to repeat what they said.
- Friends or family tell you that you don’t seem to hear very well.
- You don’t laugh at jokes because you miss too much of the story.
- You need to ask others about the details of a class or meeting you attended.
- People say that you play music or your TV too loudly.
- You can’t hear the doorbell or telephone.
The doctor will do an ear exam and, if necessary, refer someone with these symptoms to an audiologist, a health professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating hearing problems. The audiologist will do various hearing tests that can help detect where the problem might be.
A person may also need to see an otolaryngologist , a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat problems.
How Loud Is Too Loud
Youre probably exposing yourself to dangerous noise levels if:
- if you need to shout to be heard by a person 1 metre away from you
- youre listening to music through headphones and cant hear traffic sounds or people talking near you
If you hear ringing in your ears after an event or a day at work, it was too loud. If you have a lot of days like that, you will almost certainly damage your hearing.
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Are There Hearing Aids That Double As Earbuds
Olive Union has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Olive Pro true wireless earbuds that reportedly double as hearing aids just without the high price and trip to the audiologist. On top of serving as hearing aids, the wireless buds have active noise cancellation to hush unwanted background noise.
Signs You May Have Hearing Loss
Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy HearingLast updated May 24, 20212021-05-24T00:00:00-05:00
Like any medical condition, the sooner you address hearing loss the better. Here are 10 common signs that you may have hearing loss.
Be mindful of how much you’re turning up the volume on your phone.
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What About Speaking From Different Rooms
Your family member probably cannot hear you, and most likely cannot understand you when you are at a distance. Even people with normal hearing have difficulty hearing people in another room. Please do not expect people to hear you from another room. Remember to get their attention before you start talking.
How Can Wearing Hearing Aids Help With This
Hearing aids have a component that fits into the ear, so sounds reach your auditory system without the interference you would typically hear in your environment. Also, the frequencies you are unable to hear are amplified and mixed with the sounds you are able to hear in a balanced way. This makes what you hear much more clear. Modern hearing aids also make it easier to hear speech by canceling some of the unwanted background noise.
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How Good Or Bad Is Your Audiogram Is It Clinically Normal
As we age, hearing thresholds at the higher frequencies usually change more than thresholds at lower frequencies. That is, we usually do not hear high-frequency sounds as well as low-frequency sounds. This means that it takes more decibels to make high-frequency sounds loud enough for older people to hear them. Quiet, high-frequency sounds like a clock ticking or a bird chirping might become impossible to hear. Hearing loss at higher frequencies is common and some might consider this type of hearing loss to be normal for older adults.
However, the definition of normal hearing used by the World Health Organization is not adjusted for age . Hearing is considered to be clinically normal if thresholds are between 0 and 25 dB HL. The green section shows the normal hearing range. If your threshold is in the green box then it is normal. If you are like many other older people then you might have normal thresholds at lower frequencies but not at higher frequencies. The red line on Figure 1a shows that a typical 70-year old woman would have high-frequency hearing thresholds that are worse than the clinically normal range . This is the case, even though her hearing thresholds are typical for her age and gender. This means that you might have typical hearing for your age and gender, but your thresholds might not be as good as a younger person and they might not be considered to be clinically normal.
Thresholds on an audiogram can be interpreted as follows:
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How Good Or Bad Is Your Audiogram Is It Typical For Your Age
According to the International Organization for Standardization , Figure 1a and 1b shows the typical audiograms for women and men at different ages . Compared to these typical audiograms, half of the population would have better hearing thresholds that is, their thresholds would fall above the line for a specific age and gender group. People who can hear very quiet sounds would have thresholds near the top of the audiogram. Similarly, half the population would have poorer hearing thresholds that is, their results would fall below the line for a specific age and gender group. People who cannot hear sounds until the sounds are louder would have thresholds nearer to the bottom of the audiogram. If you have had a hearing test, you could compare your own audiogram to the ISO curve for you own age and gender group to see if your thresholds are better or worse.
How Can I Learn To Hear Better
5 activities to improve your hearing
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Brain Injury Or Head Trauma
A serious brain injury or head trauma can damage bones in the middle ear or nerves in the inner ear. This can happen after a fall or blow to the head. Other symptoms of a head injury include headaches, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
Muffled hearing doesnt always occur by itself. It can appear with other symptoms, too. Its important to describe all symptoms to a doctor to help identify the underlying cause.
Joy Victory Managing Editor Healthy Hearing
Joy Victory has extensive experience editing consumer health information. Her training in particular has focused on how to best communicate evidence-based medical guidelines and clinical trial results to the public. She strives to make health content accurate, accessible and engaging to the public.Read more about Joy.
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You Have A Feeling Of Fullness In Your Ears
Why it happens: Excess mucus from an infection or allergy can block the eustachian tube, the small canal that connects the throat to the middle ear and regulates airflow, particularly when you swallow or yawn. Besides feeling fullness and muffled hearing, you might also experience popping, pain or tinnitus , or have difficulty maintaining balance. A buildup of earwax can cause that feeling of fullness, too.
How to fix it: Most eustachian tube dysfunctions improve when the infection goes away, says otolaryngologist David S. Haynes, Cochlear Implant Program director at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. If not, a doctor can prescribe decongestants and antihistamines to help reduce inflammation. As for earwax, any health care provider can remove it with a suction device, irrigation tool or nasal spray, Haynes says. Don’t try to do it yourself, though, as you can easily damage your eardrum.
Red flags: Hearing loss with fullness that’s accompanied by significant pain could be otitis externa, or swimmer’s ear, an infection of the ear canal that carries sound to the eardrums. The infection is typically caused by water in the ear, which breaks down the skin and provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Otitis externa is usually treated with ear drops that contain an antibiotic.
What About Background Noise
Background noise almost always interferes with the understanding of speech even for people with normal hearing. For people with hearing loss, it probably is the most difficult situation. Try to reduce the level of avoidable background noise when conversing. When in a restaurant, the person with a hearing loss should sit with their back against the wall this helps reduce the interference of background noise. Also, sit at a table away from the kitchen or heavy traffic area.
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There Are Two Main Types Of Hearing Loss
‘Conductive’ hearing loss is caused by obstructions or malfunctions in the outer or middle ear. It can be caused by:
- outer or middle ear infections and malfunctions
- a damaged ear drum
- impacted ear wax.
‘Sensorineural’ hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear. It can be caused by:
- exposure to loud noise, such as machinery or loud music
- diseases such as meningitis
- certain chemicals and medications, known as ototoxic medications.
Its All About The Pitch With Hearing Loss
Pitch isnt just a word associated with singers. It is the property by which sounds are ordered on a frequency-related scale. More often than not, sounds with higher pitches are usually the first to be lost when hearing loss begins and the most difficult to get back. Sounds with higher pitches are also those that seem to increase in pitch as they become louder, often becoming painful to listeners. But whats interesting is that for some individuals with hearing loss, it isnt the higher pitches they have lost, but the low ones.
Hearing health advocate, writer and speaker Shari Eberts shares her story about her check-mark hearing loss and what its like to hear high pitches better than low pitches.
When it comes to my hearing, its all about the pitch. Some pitches I hear almost perfectly, others I hear fairly well, and others still, forget about it. This can lead to some awkward situations, where people expect me to have a certain level of hearing, generally based on some previous sounds that I did or didnt hear. They also expect that I am able to hear all voices equally well, but this is not the case.
My audiogram looks like a check mark, with my high pitch hearing almost perfect. My lower pitch hearing is impaired, and it is the frequencies where speech falls that are the toughest for me. That is unfortunate too since those are the sounds I most want to hear.
Readers, does your hearing vary widely by pitch? If so, how do you handle it?
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How Can I Get A Free Nhs Hearing Aid
You will need a GP referral for a hearing assessment with an NHS service. If your hearing assessment shows that a hearing aid will be helpful, then you are eligible for a free hearing aid. Most hearing aids prescribed through the NHS are digital and usually behind the ear types.
NHS services are located in hospitals or health centres. In some areas of England, the NHS asks some private companies to carry out hearing tests and dispense hearing aids on its behalf.
Most people find NHS aids very helpful, but not all types of aids are available. It can be a good idea to try a free NHS aid and see if it suits you, before thinking about buying one.
Tips: How To Talk With Someone With Hearing Loss
Here are some tips you can use when talking with someone who has a hearing problem:
- In a group, include people with hearing loss in the conversation.
- Find a quiet place to talk to help reduce background noise, especially in restaurants and at social gatherings.
- Stand in good lighting and use facial expressions or gestures to give clues.
- Face the person and speak clearly. Maintain eye contact.
- Speak a little more loudly than normal, but dont shout. Try to speak slowly, but naturally.
- Speak at a reasonable speed.
- Do not hide your mouth, eat, or chew gum while speaking.
- Repeat yourself if necessary, using different words.
- Try to make sure only one person talks at a time.
- Be patient. Stay positive and relaxed.
- Ask how you can help.
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People Do Not Want To Feel As Though The Hard Of Hearing Listener Blames Them For Why They Cant Understand Their Speech
Speakers who are made to feel that the listener blames them for mumbling or talking unclearly will find this very offensive and rude.
Granted, some people DO mumble and talk unclearly, but lets face it: Most people do not have this problem.
I know I dont. In fact, Ive been told I sometimes talk too loud. As a person who communicates for a living, I place a high premium on the importance of clear speech. I dont drink or take drugs my speech is very clear.
One time I had a phone job. I called someone and began speaking. The cranky man interrupted with a blunt, angry Speak up! I cant hear you!
Well, I didnt speak up I HUNG up. Im sure he thought I was rude! Had he interrupted with a kindly Excuse me, but can you repeat that and talk a bit slower and more careful? Im having trouble hearing you, I would have kindly obliged.
I know a relative with hearing loss who wears hearing aids, but he often gets irate with me if he doesnt understand me. He accuses me of running my words together.
If you have difficulty with hearing, have you ever accused the speaker of mumbling or talking too fast?
This is VERY insulting and provides NO incentive for the speaker to be kind and patient with you.
If you think only children mumble, realize that kids voices have higher frequencies, and thats why you have more difficulty deciphering kids speech.
Linda thinks nowadays, everyone on the phone who leaves messages cant talk clearly.
There Is Mixed Hearing Loss Which Is A Mixture Of The Two Above
There are four different severities for all hearing loss types. First, there is mild, where you may hear some speech sounds, but will have difficulty hearing softer sounds. Then there is moderate where you will struggle to understand speech when someone is talking at a normal level. Severe hearing loss is where you hear little to no speech at normal levels and only some loud noises. And finally, profound in which you may only hear very loud sounds or none. If you are struggling to hear when there is background noise, it is likely that you are experiencing moderate hearing loss but talk to your audiologist about this.
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Is It Hearing Loss Or Early Dementiacausing Me To Be Tired
Although early symptoms of dementia can be tiredness and not understanding others at times, this question makes most people anxious. The answer could be either, or even both. But the first thing to do is to get further assessment by a Doctor of Audiology.
He or she will perform an Audiological Exam to determine if you have hearing loss, and to what extent. A treatment plan will be formulated and discussed with you and your significant other. Possibly referrals to other specialists will be made, but the first step to alleviate your fears and to receive a diagnosis is to have your hearing evaluated.