Hearing loss due aging is a common challenge that affects many older adults, it can have a significant impact on their quality of life if left untreated. Hearing loss can range from a mild loss to a total loss of hearing. It can be a result from disease, trauma, certain medications, hereditary, or long-term exposure to loud noise. Hearing loss can get worse if ignored or left untreated. But if it is identified early, it can be helped with hearing aids, medications, or surgery.
Having trouble hearing can impact personal relationships, physical health, and a person’s overall quality of life.
Being able to communicate is a foundation to remain cognitively and socially engaged with others. Hearing loss leads to communication barriers. Family relationships can be tense with a senior who is frustrated because of their declined hearing. They may be irritable and short-tempered on those who are closest to them. Studies have shown that older adults with untreated hearing loss may not be able to communicate properly in conversations because they cannot understand what is being said, their hearing loss might be mistaken as being confused or losing their mental abilities. This negative view from others and the frustration from being unable to communicate makes it hard to enjoy talking with friends and family and can lead many problems that may include:
- Withdrawal from social life
- Lower self-esteem
- Cognitive decline
Another big concern with those who have hearing loss is safety, especially for those living alone. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to respond to warning, hear doorbell or alarm. Older adults who suffer from hearing loss cannot drive safely. They might not hear a doctor’s instruction properly.
In summary, hearing loss affects every aspect of life for seniors, from social life to emotional health and physical well-being. Fortunately, in many cases a hearing healthcare specialist can help getting treatment for hearing loss, the use of a hearing aid can restore the quality of life and help re-engage in life.