When hearing loss begins with a person’s inability to recognize high frequency sounds, they miss the higher pitched consonants and hear only vowels. They begin confusing what they hear with another word that sounds similar and respond according to what they thought the word might be.
Family and friends may be too quick to label that person as suffering from dementia because their reactions and statements are not related with what the rest of what people had been talking about because he could hardly understand what he heard, if he is still able to hear anything, or the right signals aren’t getting through the auditory system to the cognitive processing or memory centers.
More so, elders who confuse words or are unable to hear even though they are aware they are being spoken to become anxious and frustrated. Many just choose to keep quiet instead of asking others to repeat what they said or ask that they speak louder. Some become aggressive or irritable when grandchildren, children and every caregiver lose their patience with them. They feel people do not like them because it takes too much effort and trouble to communicate.
While it is easy to notice when parents in their senior years begin to have problems with their eyesight, people with hearing problems can remain seated for a long period of time and not say anything about hearing little of the conversation and feeling isolated.
All of these could lead to depression.
This is why screening for hearing loss is recommended for every adult who has reached fifty going into their senior years to prevent hastening the onset of hearing impairment and its implications.
A thorough examination of the auditory canal and tympanic membrane can identify causes of hearing loss.
The common screening tests include a whispered voice test and audioscopy.
Older patients who admit to having difficulty hearing may be referred directly for audiometry
Audiometric testing is required to confirm hearing loss
A patient’s environment history can identify risk factors for hearing loss, especially noise exposure and use of ototoxic medications.
A lot of other conditions can interfere with the conduction of sound vibrations to the inner ear and their conversion to electrical impulses sent to the brain for processing.
Modern methods are continuously being developed to aid the more commonly used audiometric testing.
There has been a study conducted that the tablet-based pure-tone test and word-in-noise test are reliable and valid screening tools for hearing loss among the elderly in Hong Kong elderly.
Whatever options are chosen, it is widely known that the Hong Kong health authorities give the best health care service to their elderly and these include programs to screen for loss of hearing to alleviate future problems.
If you think you suffer with hearing loss and need a hearing aid, make sure to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription