May is the Better Hearing & Speech MonthMay 12, 2017
May brings us Better Hearing & Speech Month. This obscure observation began back in 1927 in order to bring awareness about hearing loss and speech impediments and to the potential treatments. President Ronald Reagan made it official in 1986.
This is a great reminder to make your parent’s yearly appointment with their audiologist. Loss of hearing can be difficult to detect, especially when taken into consideration with the other ailments your parent may be facing. Approximately 34 million Americans have hearing loss. Studies suggest that obtaining hearing aids can not only help your parent hear better and ease their frustration, but also keep their hearing from getting worse. Hearing aids help over 90 percent of those with hearing loss.
Your parent may be reluctant to obtain a hearing aid. This can be due to their past experience or watching their friends or loved ones become exasperated due to background noise or an intermittent buzzing. Fortunately, hearing aids have come a long way in recent years and continue to make advancements.
Digital noise reduction (DNR) has improved the ability to hear even when in a noisy environment. According to an article in The Hearing Review, “Advances in DNR should help the brain create an internal acoustic landscape which more accurately reflects and interprets the real-world acoustic environment, to provide an internal accurate ‘open acoustic landscape’ from which the brain can identify and change its focus as desired to maximally understand speech, even in a background of speech and non-speech noise.”
Studies to Help Support the Need for Hearing Aids
Studies suggest hearing loss can affect other areas of one’s life than just communication. A study conducted at Johns Hopkins revealed that a mild degree of hearing loss almost tripled the risk of falling.
Helping your Parent Adapt
The first few weeks can be trying as your parent’s brain and ears learn to adapt to hearing aids. It may even take many months before they become a part of their existence and, similar to glasses, don’t think twice about their presence. There are a few tried and true techniques that can make this process easier and less frustrating.
• Begin by wearing the aid a few hours each day and in familiar surroundings. Avoid wearing them in noisy public environments.
• Gradually build up to wearing them all the time you are awake.
• Practice focusing on what you want to hear. For instance, if you’re listening to someone, focus on their words. It may take your brain time to differentiate between all the noises and what you are actually listening to.
• In groups, focus on a single person and pay attention to their lips.
• Practice by active listening when watching TV.
• Don’t get frustrated. Like any new activity, this takes time to become comfortable with but it is well worth the effort.
Hiring an Elder Care Provider
If your loved one’s hearing loss or other physical ailments are keeping them from performing the everyday activities of living, consider obtaining the services of an elder care provider. They can assist with the daily tasks, provide transportation, and practice communication and active listening with your parent. Most importantly, they can provide the companionship so important to people as they navigate through the changes that aging brings.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in New York, NY, contact Star One Home Care and Medical Staffing at 718-733-2222 or 914-362-0899. Call today!
Patricia started her nursing career 19 years ago at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and research institution in New York City, and since then has gained experience in Adult Intensive Care Units (ICU) , Pediatric Care (PICU ), Operating Room (OR) , mental health and community settings. She later moved into director of nursing roles, where she obtained extensive experience in leading and developing the nursing profession. She also pioneered good partnership working with other health care organizations, as well as social services, and the wider community.