Latest posts by Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA (see all)
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- Supporting A Loved One with Hearing Loss in a Nursing Home - August 9, 2019
Having a loved one residing in a nursing home can be difficult at times. When your loved one suffers from hearing loss that can add even more pressure. The environment within the nursing home should be able to promote and maintain a social dynamic that fosters positive effects on their daily lives.
Being equipped with a hearing aid alone will not determine the efficacy of its use. As your loved one combats hearing loss, we need to be aware of what we can do to help maintain their social interactions and ensure that communication between them and the staff and residents are kept at optimum levels.
The quality of life we enjoy is highly dependent on our ability to communicate not only for our day to day needs but for social engagement. Your loved one needs to be able to address their needs and to achieve a level of socialization and enjoyment to mitigate the negative aspects of hearing loss.
The following information will provide some techniques that we can adopt and implement, in order to ensure they can enjoy themselves and express their needs as best as possible.
The quality of the long-term care facility is important. Make sure you check to see if they have private rooms that facilitate easier communication and minimal cross sounds that can easily hinder speech recognition.
Find out if the staff is trained to recognize symptoms of hearing loss that your loved one suffers from and are able to address their needs accordingly. They should be able to discern the wellness of residents and their needs to socialize in a supportive environment.
Make sure that your loved one has a regular hearing assessment so that any factors that are debilitating such as excessive earwax build up can be taken care of as soon as possible.
Work in tandem with staff regarding the cleanliness of hearing aids. This can be taken care of on your end when visiting. Hearing aids need to be dry and cleaned at least once a week using a soft and dry toothbrush to keep it free of any foreign bodies.
Always have an extra stock of batteries, check them once a week and replace when necessary.
Make sure you and your loved one have practiced keeping hearing aids in a marked container at the end of each day before sleeping. Make sure the container is easy to open and close. Keep the container in the same, easy-to-reach location every time.
Label the hearing aids with bright colored permanent markers and put the name of your loved one on them.
Hearing aids are also available in different colors or can be painted brightly, to make it easier to keep track of should they fall out, get lost or misplaced. Keep pictures and personal records of the brand and model of hearing aids that belong to your loved ones.
Help your loved one to retain their hearing aids by using a clip or cord system for attachment. They should be able to use this easily so that they can be mobile and also ensure that they won’t lose, drop or damage their hearing aids.
Assistive listening devices
There are times and areas in the facility that can be inundated with cross sounds that will hamper your loved ones’ ability to communicate. Your loved ones would benefit from the “assistive hearing devices” when they need to communicate with staff and other residents in challenging hearing environments.
The Importance of Treating Hearing Loss
It has been proven by medical research and studies that hearing loss is linked to the cognitive decline of the elderly. We need to be aware of all the strategies we can enforce so that they do not become vulnerable to isolation and depression.
Maintaining a good relationship with the staff and making them aware of your loved one’s needs is one of the keys to ensure a quality of life for them. Constant monitoring on your part is also necessary.
At Encore Hearing, we understand the importance of hearing decline in our lives and those close to us. We are here for any questions you or a loved one might have regarding your hearing health. Hearing loss can impact our everyday lives and we understand the complexities and challenges that it brings. We encourage you to give us a call and we can get you started on strengthening your hearing health and attend to your overall wellness.