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What Caregivers Need to know

You may know that your loved one has suffered hearing loss before he or she is willing to admit it. You see the signs every day - your loved one believes people are mumbling when they speak, the television is always garbled, and they repeatedly ask you to repeat yourself. Audiologists at Silicon Valley Hearing Inc. say that those are the top three signs of hearing loss. We asked them for their advice on how to get a loved one to agree to a hearing test and here is what they said. “Denial is a very powerful enemy. It is often difficult to convince a senior to have their hearing checked. Let them know that there is no harm in obtaining a hearing test to determine their hearing ability. Inform them that untreated hearing loss can lead to withdrawal, social isolation, and depression and has recently been linked to diminished cognitive function. Hearing loss is not an indicator or cause of dementia or memory loss, but can negatively impact the brain’s ability to accurately process speech and language information, which can ultimately lead to communication breakdown, confusion, and frustration.” If your aging loved one needs a hearing aid, there are many different options. Some styles are hidden behind the ear, and some are placed in the ear canal. Audiologists will work with you as the caregiver, and your senior, to ensure success in wearing and cleaning the hearing aid. The audiologists at Silicon Valley Hearing said, “We encourage patients to invite their caregivers to each and every appointment. We will gladly show caregivers how to properly clean and maintain your loved one’s hearing devices. There are a vast amount of hearing devices on the market, so it’s always best to accompany your loved one to their appointment to learn about their specific hearing devices needs.” If the senior in your care requires a hearing aid but cannot afford one, there are many different options to pursue. According to Silicon Valley Hearing, “Medicare does not pay for hearing devices, but some insurance plans may offer some coverage such as Medicare Advantage plans, retiree union plans, and federal employee plans. There are financing programs available such as Care Credit. Those who are low-income and live in California may qualify for Medi-Cal and other states have similar programs. Some people may be eligible for income-based assistance programs offered by the various hearing aid manufacturers. There are usually choices for every budget and a good audiologist practice will help you to explore those options.” When you realize that a senior in your care needs a hearing evaluation, seek a qualified audiologist. They can be found in private practice, hospitals, large medical clinics, Veterans Administration hospitals and non-profit centers. Make sure the one you choose holds either a Ph.D. (research doctorate) or an Au.D. (clinical doctorate). Audiologists can choose to be a dispensing audiologist, one who fits hearing aids, or a non-dispensing audiologist one who only performs hearing and balance testing. Ask the audiologist all the questions necessary to feel comfortable with their services and ability to appropriately interact with your loved one. If the senior in your care has special needs, inquire about the audiologist’s experience working with people who suffer from them. If you need help transporting your loved one to and from the audiologist’s office or need help cleaning hearing aids, Home Care Assistance caregivers can provide that support. Those are just two of the many services that we provide. If you have questions about home care can support for your aging loved one, read our guide, What is Home Care? You can download it on our website. It will answer your questions and provide information about the ways in which we can relieve some of your caregiving responsibilities in a caring, compassionate and highly trained manner. Our thanks to Dr. Marni Novick from Silicon Valley Hearing, Inc. for her expertise and advice on this important topic.
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