Quite a few older people (asians mostly) feel that hearing is the least important aspect of their lives. When they realise their hearing is deteriorating, they just say, “It (hearing loss) comes with age so we just accept it. Just like strength in the limbs and poorer eye sight, it’s just part of aging.” Some in my office even say things like, “I’m old, I’m not working why would I need a hearing aid to help me hear better? I’m not attending meetings, I’m not doing business, no one talks to me, Why would I need better hearing? They just need to speak louder to me.” And the most terribly reply I’ve heard – ” I’m old and useless and I’m going to die anyway, why do I need to hear better? No one even talks to me!”
Little do these realise the problems that it causes them. They limit their social circle due to their hearing loss without realising it. They fail to see that people talk to them less because of the tremendous effort to “get through” to them. When asked further, then they would begin to realise that they have stopped attending social functions because of their hearing loss. They would soon realise that the TV volume is disturbing the neighbours. They would realise that their children are not angry with them but rather because they cannot hear clearly.
As audiologist, we need to help these seniors to realise that there is help available. That they do not have to suffer in silence. Properly fitted hearing aids would improve hearing and in turn improve quality of life. It is unfortunate that in Malaysia, some companies try to sell amplifiers “disguised” as hearing aids. Just buy and if it fits use it. There is no proper hearing assessment. There is no hearing aid evaluation. There is no follow up services to help them get used to the new hearing.
So remember when you know someone who has difficulty hearing, whether elderly or not so elderly, get a proper hearing assessment and consult with qualified audiologist. They deserve better life after all that they have given to their family and their society.
Below is an inspirational story of how an elderly person’s life was changed with better hearing. Read all about her experience via the source link below.
Carol Rudy knew her life was better when she heard her husband making an annoying sucking sound with his teeth.
Though the noise irritated her, she was just happy that she could hear it.
Carol suffered from severe hearing loss for decades. As a baby in the early 1940s, her pediatrician accidently punctured her eardrum, and she has a family history of hearing loss. After turning 50, she began to see doctors and wear progressively more powerful hearing aids. This went on for 20 years, and around the time she turned 70, even the strongest hearing aids weren’t helping.
Her four children encouraged her to consider receiving a cochlear implant. Carol hesitated. She wasn’t ready.
It’s given me a new lease on life, and I’d do it again,” she said. “I enjoy my grandchildren. I’m joining the world again.