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Signs Your Loved One Might Have Hearing Loss

Signs Your Loved One Might Have Hearing Loss

Signs to look out for if you think your loved one might have hearing loss

As our loved ones start to get older, it’s normal to worry about their health and well-being. Things like memory, vision, and hearing can start to decline as we age, and you may worry about how your older loved one is coping with getting older. You’ll be keen to help them to enjoy their senior years, doing everything that you can to keep them happy and healthy for as long as possible. But to do this, you need to know that there’s something wrong.

Hearing loss isn’t something that just happens overnight. It’s often a slow decline, and it’s not always easy to spot the signs that there’s a problem. Your loved one might not realise that their hearing isn’t what it once was, or they might worry about seeking help if they have spotted the signs. Here are some of the things that you should look out for if you want to protect your loved one's hearing and offer them the right advice and support.

They Struggle to Follow Conversations in Groups

Often one of the first signs of hearing loss is struggling to follow conversations, especially if there’s a crowd, we’re in a loud setting, or multiple people are talking at the same time. Being able to focus on one voice in many, is much harder than listening to one thing when there’s nothing else going on.

You might notice that your loved one tries to speak to people one on one, avoids groups altogether, or looks lost during conversations.

They Seem to Forget Things

When our older loved ones start to forget things, we usually worry about cognitive decline and illnesses like dementia. But sometimes it’s a simple case of hearing loss, which can be much easier to manage.

If your loved one seems to have forgotten things that you’ve told them or whole sections of conversations, it might be that they didn’t hear in the first place.

Their Responses Seem Inappropriate

It’s not always easy to spot hearing loss. It might appear that your loved one is listening and taking it all in. Until you ask them a question and they reply with something that is inappropriate or just doesn’t make sense. This could be because they’ve misheard, or because they didn’t hear at all, and have jumped to their own conclusions.

Mishearing occasionally is normal, but if this happens a lot, it might be time to worry.

The Volume on Their TV is Very High

Most of us have a typical comfortable volume that we set our TV to when we are alone. We might change this occasionally to suit the particular show, or when we’re tired, but it’s always around the same.

If you are worried, watch TV with your loved one. If it’s very loud when they first turn it on, that’s the volume they need it at when they are alone.

They Complain About Mumbling

Most of us are guilty of looking for external solutions to our issues. Your loved one is more likely to assume that other people, including actors on TV, are mumbling, and not that there is something wrong with their hearing. If they make regular complaints about mumbling or repeatedly ask people to speak clearly, when they sound fine to everyone else, there may be a problem.

They Ask People to Repeat Themselves

We all ask people to repeat themselves from time to time, but if your loved one does this regularly, especially in quiet settings, they might not be hearing as well as you’d expect.

They Need to Look at You When You are Speaking

People who are struggling to hear will often focus on our mouths when we speak, using lip reading to help them understand. They might not even be aware that they are doing it. If they lip-read well, it might be hard to spot some of the other signs of hearing loss. But you may notice that they don’t hear as well when they can’t see your lips and that they miss bits of conversation if you aren’t facing them.

What Should You Do if You Are Worried?

If you are concerned about your loved one’s hearing, the first thing that you should do is talk to them. Don’t make any decisions for them, and don’t speak to anyone about them behind their back. Instead, ask them how they feel about their hearing, and make them aware of any symptoms and signs that you’ve spotted. Encourage them to take a simple test at www.phonak.com/uk/en/online-hearing-test.html and perhaps to see a doctor to rule out other causes, especially if they seem confused and are having memory issues.

Hearing loss is very common as we get older, and it’s usually something that can be treated or managed fairly well. Explain to your loved one that hearing loss doesn’t have to be something that limits their abilities or independence and that with the right care, they might find that their quality and enjoyment of life improves significantly.

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