7 Symptoms of Hearing Loss That You Should Be Aware of When Caring for an Elderly Relative

Caring for an elderly relative comes with its own unique challenges, one of which could be tackling hearing loss. Detecting early signs of auditory difficulties significantly improves the likelihood of receiving effective treatment and enhances the quality of life for your loved one


Where to Learn More About Hearing Loss

Gaining a deeper understanding of hearing loss is crucial if you want to provide the best care for your elderly relative. Several reputable resources can help you learn more about this issue. 

Some great starting points include websites from health organizations such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) or the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Be sure to check out hearingresearch.org, as well.

These websites offer a wealth of information on hearing loss causes, symptoms, treatment options, and support services. Additionally, consulting with audiologists and healthcare professionals can provide personalized guidance tailored to your loved one's specific needs.

7 Symptoms of Hearing Loss to Be Aware of in Elderly Relatives

Seeing your elderly relative go through any type of health complication can be difficult. However, by understanding these 7 symptoms of hearing loss, you can get them the help they need.

1. Difficulty Understanding Speech

When it comes to caring for an elderly relative, difficulty understanding speech is an essential symptom of hearing loss to be aware of. This issue often manifests in situations with high-pitched background noise (i.e., birds chirping) or when the speaker has a soft voice. 

Your loved one may frequently ask others to repeat themselves or misunderstand conversations altogether, causing frustration for both parties. It's vital to recognize this symptom early, as it allows for timely intervention and treatment. By acting fast, they can preserve their hearing. 

2. Turning Up the Volume

A telling sign of potential hearing loss in elderly relatives is their habit of turning up the volume on televisions, radios, or other audio devices to excessively high levels. This pattern usually emerges from an inability to hear sounds comfortably at normal or lower sound volumes. 

As a caretaker, it's essential to monitor your loved one's use of audio devices and be aware of dramatic changes in volume preferences. After you acknowledge this symptom, you can ensure your relative gets the appropriate assistance, so they can experience an improved quality of life.

3. Speaking Louder Than Necessary

Another symptom to be aware of is when your elderly relative tends to speak louder than necessary. This behavior could indicate that they’re having trouble hearing their own voice and are unconsciously compensating by raising the volume (so they can hear themselves better). 

If you recognize this pattern, be sure to initiate a conversation with your loved one about their hearing abilities and encourage them to seek professional help. Addressing this issue early on can lead to better communication experiences for both your relatives and those around them.

4. Social Withdrawal

Hearing loss can impact more than just communication. In fact, it could lead to social withdrawal and isolation due to constant difficulties in understanding conversations. As a caretaker, it's essential to recognize changes in your elderly relative's social habits, like avoiding gatherings. 

Addressing the underlying issue of hearing loss may help restore your loved one's confidence and support their reintegration into a more active social life. By being empathetic and attentive to their needs, you can significantly improve their overall well-being and happiness.

5. Struggling With Phone Conversations

Phone conversations can be particularly challenging for elderly individuals experiencing hearing loss due to the absence of visual cues. If your loved one frequently needs assistance during phone calls or seems hesitant to use the phone, it may point toward a decline in hearing. 

When you recognize this struggle, you can make a significant difference in your relative's life. Moreover, assisting them with adapting to alternative communication methods, such as texting or video calls, can ease frustration and improve their overall communication experience.

6. Tinnitus (Ringing in the Ears)

Tinnitus, characterized by ringing, buzzing, or humming sounds in the ears without any external source, can sometimes be associated with age-related hearing loss. While there are various factors that contribute to this condition, it's essential to be aware of its presence in your relatives. 

Since you can’t visually see tinnitus, screening for it during regular health check-ups ensures that any potential auditory issues are addressed early on. Prompt diagnosis and treatment not only alleviate symptoms but also contribute to a better quality of life for your loved one.

For those who are dealing with these issues, there are resources available that can help. One such resource is Hearing Aids Santa Monica. They provide information and support for individuals and families dealing with hearing loss and related conditions. Remember, it’s always important to seek professional advice when dealing with health-related issues.

7. Fatigue After Social Interactions

An often overlooked symptom of hearing loss is fatigue following social interactions because it can be pretty hard to spot. Elderly individuals struggling with auditory issues expend considerable mental energy trying to concentrate on conversations, leading to exhaustion. 

As a caregiver, it's crucial to be mindful of your loved one's energy levels after spending time around others. Recognizing and addressing the underlying hearing loss can greatly reduce their fatigue during and after social encounters and improve their overall communication experiences.