Our experiences change as we age. There are more responsibilities and different priorities that we need to deal with. We’ll notice that some family members will need additional help and care.
If you recognize any of these things, you’re probably the caregiver in your family. There are some tips on how to handle this role to make your life easier.
Attention to All Caregivers
Anyone can be a caregiver. Maybe you are taking care of a sick or aging parent, relative, friend, or child with special needs.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. The Family Caregiver Alliance has reported that annually, nearly 44 million Americans assist with 37 billion hours of unpaid, ‘informal’ care for adult family members and friends who have chronic conditions or illnesses. Most people manage these situations with some or no help from a professional. Out of this population, there’s a large number of people who need aid and assistance as a result of an injury - or age-related hearing loss.
What is Age-Related Hearing Loss?
The term presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, has been used and described in our previous blog posts.
When you think about a caregiver, managing hearing loss probably doesn’t immediately come to your attention as the main part to consider. Aging and looking after hearing problems could become a significant responsibility that you will also need to handle.
Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause cognitive decline and depression due to social isolation. It can impact your self-worth and general outlook on life, which can make things more challenging as you age. If you notice or even suspect a loved one has hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. Just like with any serious health problem, it’s important to receive early treatment and care to help slow down or even prevent worsening effects.
At Home Care for Your Hearing Needs
It’s important to be able to care for your hearing loss on your own, with the guidance of a hearing healthcare professional.
If you are a caregiver for someone with hearing loss, start by making sure that the hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices are properly functioning. Batteries and wax guards should be switched out regularly. If the person you are caring for hears whistling or anything abnormal with their hearing aids, their device probably needs to be repaired. You can clean their hearing aids from dust and earwax buildup, and make sure they are dry. Professional-grade cleaning wipes or soft cloth should be used to wipe the hearing aids down.
The way their home is arranged is also something to look into. You should ask the person with the hearing impairment whether they can hear the TV, or if it’s easy for them to answer the telephone or their smartphone. If they do find it difficult to use these devices, maybe you should rearrange some furniture or the entertainment system. Most modern hearing aids feature Bluetooth®, so streaming media or phone calls are easier. A major part of caring for someone with hearing loss is working as a team to find the best solution for their unique lifestyle and needs.
You should also consider creating a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Struggling to hear can lead to listening fatigue, so help make their living space calm and relaxing.
Don’t Forget to Take Good Care of Yourself
It’s easy to feel burnt out in these situations. It happens to every caregiver. The most common signs of stress in a caregiver are fatigue, consistent feelings of worry, and depression. If you notice any of these feelings, address them immediately. Taking care of your own needs is just as important as taking care of your loved one.
There are support groups available or even consider advice from a medical professional. If possible, talk to loved ones - even the person who you are caring for. Make reasonable expectations. A conversation could help with future tensions that are felt by everyone involved.
Make an Appointment with a Specialist
Setting up an appointment with a hearing aid specialist is important for caregivers with loved ones who have hearing loss. They will help keep the devices functioning properly, repair them, provide professional cleanings, cleaning tools such as professional-strength cleaning wipes, and other accessories. Remember to keep information on your loved one’s hearing aid warranty on hand, in case it is needed, and go to their appointment with them.
If you, or a loved one, need a hearing test or new hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation.