"I don't think Dad hears well anymore He seems silent when a group is talking. Could he have a hearing issue or do you think the "room noise" is making it difficult to hear clearly?"
We increase the production of wax in our ears. You may just say to your loved one, "I've noticed that you seem to be having a few hearing issues. You may want to have your ears looked at." Some people simply need to get the excess wax out of their ears and they'll be fine. In some cases, you may want to have their hearing tested. Part of the issue may be the vanity of needing to wear hearing aids. Technology is getting better and better, in fact, I've been noticing more 50 and 60 year old people wearing hearing aids and you can barely detect them. You may need to walk your loved one through issues with hearing. It's not a weakness or character flaw but in many cases is just a natural part of aging.
It's very important that people hear. If you have a hearing problem, you may not catch everything that is said in a conversation and then respond inappropriately and be labeled as a person with a dementia problem when all it really is a hearing deficit. I recommend that people begin a relationship with an audiologist. They can accurately assess hearing and begin to look at a baseline of data which will be helpful in tracking changes down the road.
Published on December 15, 2011.