Hearing Loss Affects Seniors in Rehabilitation
Hearing loss and impeded hearing is one of the top three senior complaints. Senior health issues in seniors with a hearing impediment may be complex. When a senior is a visitor or a resident in a rehabilitation center, there are additional factors to be taken into account.
Patients with Hearing Loss and Staff
- Family members who are aware of the hearing loss should inform staff in a rehabilitation center of their loved one’s hearing loss. Then the staff can work together with the patient more effectively.
- Make sure that the staff know how to adjust hearing aid is there is one, or can understand if it is not working properly. A study found that a large percentage of staff do not know the basics about hearing aids.
- Staff must be aware of how your loved one communicates best. If there are other tools he enjoys using, do your best to provide your loved one with these, while he is in rehab care.
- Studies found that some people subjectively perceived hearing loss even though the hearing tests were clear. This means it won’t be written in the medical records, yet the person is subjectively suffering from hearing loss. So the staff must be made aware of the patient’s needs and expectations.
- Encourage your loved one to use technology to his advantage. In a busy residential rehab center, messaging or texting can be a good way of getting the staffs attention.
Senior Health Issues in Seniors with a Hearing Impediment
The hearing impediment may be caused by:
- sensory-neural wear and tear
- other environmental factors
- other co-existing medical conditions
The hearing impediment may cause:
- lack of communication
- reduced quality of life
- malfunction in activities of daily living
- social isolation
Hearing Tests and Hearing Aids – Reasons why these are not always used
Health insurance with Medicare does not always cover hearing tests and hearing aids . Medicaid may cover hearing aids if the person has a disability or is of low income.
The financial barrier is not the only impediment to getting hearing issues settled. Research up until today has not found conclusive evidence that screening for hearing loss is beneficial. Some would like to see screening hearing tests available for all people over the age of 50.
That means that discovery of hearing loss will often be incidental. Family members may notice that their senior relative has the volume high on their TV or other device. Unfortunately, with people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, hearing loss is often present. Yet it is often overlooked and thrown in together with the other symptoms of dementia.
Sometimes a person realizes that their hearing is not what it used to be. If they proceed with the series of tests, only then will they benefit from the sleek, effective modernized hearing aids that are available.
Hearing Aids – A Delicate Instrument
An average hearing aid can last between 3 to 5 years. If the patient’s needs change then the change-date for the hearing device might need to be brought forward.
However, hearing devices are often delicate instruments requiring preventative care. If a senior does not know how to look after their device or if it falls, the device can be damaged or get broken. Someone needs to be made aware of the need to readjust or fix the device.
(Read an article about top tips to keep hearing devices safe ).
Asking for Help from Rehab Center Staff
- Tell the nursing staff that the patient uses hearing aids or is hard of hearing.
- Request their understanding.
- A patient should feel comfortable to ask the staff to repeat what they say until the patient understands. The instructions could be important- e.g. how to take a certain medication.
- Inform the physical therapist if applicable. Physical therapy needs good interaction between therapist and patient.
- Even if the other conditions for which you are in the rehab center are very important, the patients needs due to hearing loss should not be set aside.
- Do not be embarrassed to report to staff sudden hearing loss or, if the hearing gets worse in any way.
We have seen how the senior health issues in seniors with a hearing impediment can be many and complex. The patient-family-staff dynamic allows a patient in a rehab center to express their needs regarding hearing loss. With understanding on all sides,a patient in a rehabilitation center can have a pleasant and productive experience.