Caring for Someone With Suspected Hearing Loss? Learn the Signs and Start With This Simple Test
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Think your loved one has undiagnosed hearing loss? For those who struggle to hear, a hearing test can seem like a daunting task. Here’s what you need to know to help them take the first step toward better hearing.
Keep in mind that your loved one may not know they’re hard of hearing.
According to a 2019 Statistics Canada report on data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 77% of adults who had measured hearing loss did not self-report having hearing difficulties.1 Why don’t they perceive their hearing loss? It could be denial or because the hearing loss is mild or unexpected. Maybe family and friends haven’t expressed concern about the person’s hearing. It’s important to remember that hearing loss is gradual, so you and your loved one may adapt to the changes over time and not even realize they’ve lost some ability to hear.1,4
These are some signs of hearing loss to look for.
Your loved one may:
- Turn up the volume of the radio or TV.
- Speak louder than necessary.
- Have difficulty hearing whispering and higher-pitched sounds like women’s and children’s voices, doorbells or kettles whistling.
- Have trouble following conversations in noisy environments such as restaurants.
- Avoid social gatherings.
- Complain that others are mumbling.
- Lean in to hear you.
- Have a hard time identifying where sounds are coming from.
- Have clogged ears or ringing or buzzing in one or both ears.
The consequences of hearing loss should not be ignored.
Hearing loss can make your loved one feel left out, lonely, frustrated and embarrassed. It can make it hard to enjoy conversations and social events with family and friends. The ripple effects of untreated hearing loss include isolation, cognitive decline, depression, anxiety and fatigue. There are also safety concerns, such as falls and injuries, associated with not being able to hear well. Imagine the danger of not hearing a warning or a smoke alarm.1,2,3,6
Then there are the challenges for you as a caregiver. You may feel ignored and that you’re constantly repeating yourself. Your loved one’s hearing may cause you to argue and have misunderstandings. Their hearing loss may seem more noticeable now that we’re wearing masks, which can muffle voices and prevent them from seeing your mouth and full facial expressions.
For all these reasons, early detection and treatment of hearing loss is crucial. You can help your loved one stop missing out on life and start hearing it all — the sounds of music, birds chirping and the sweet laughter of grandchildren.
Ask your loved one to take this test.
Start with this online assessment and see if your loved one needs their hearing tested. It takes about 5 minutes and will give you a general idea of how well they hear, using self-evaluation questions, a tone test and a few listening scenarios. All they need is a pair of headphones and a quiet room. Take the test here.
HearingLife is here to help.
If the online test finds that your loved one’s hearing is reduced, you can book a FREE detailed hearing test at one of HearingLife’s 300+ locations. Our highly trained and certified hearing care professionals are ready to assist in making a consultation as easy as possible. HearingLife is Canada’s largest group of hearing centres with the most advanced hearing aid technology, clinical support and diagnostic equipment.
CARP members save additional 10% off the regular price or limited-time promotional price of select hearing aids sold at HearingLife and our national affiliated partners, proud sponsors of the Campaign for Better Hearing, and earn up to 2,000 AIR MILES® reward miles with their purchase!
1 Statistics Canada. Unperceived hearing loss among Canadians aged 40 to 79. (2019). Accessed August 11, 2020, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2019008/article/00002-eng.htm
2 Canadian Academy of Audiology. Audiology and Hearing FAQs. Accessed July 27, 2020. https://canadianaudiology.ca/audiology-faqs/
3 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) (2018). Hearing Loss and Older Adults. Accessed August 11, 2020, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-older-adults
4 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). (2018). Age-Related Hearing Loss. Accessed August 12, 2020, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What If I Already Have Hearing Loss. (2018). What If I Already Have Hearing Loss? Accessed August 12, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/what_if_i_already_have_hearing_loss.html
6 Statistics Canada. (2015). Prevalence of hearing loss among Canadians aged 20 to 79: Audiometric results from the 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Accessed August 12, 2020, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2015007/article/14206-eng.htm
7 Canadian Hearing Services. (2019). Hearing Loss. Accessed August 19, 2020, from https://www.chs.ca/signs-hearing-loss