Supporting A Loved One with Hearing Loss in a Nursing Home
It's normal for our loved ones to move into a nursing home or a long-term care facility as they get older. Supporting a loved one in a nursing home, whether it's a parent or a partner, can be difficult for anyone. If you have a loved one in a nursing home with hearing loss, here are some tips to help you navigate the nursing home process and find the best way to assist your loved one.
Check if your loved one is using their hearing aids
Hearing loss is common among seniors, with half of those aged 75 and up reporting difficulty hearing. It's no surprise that many nursing home residents use hearing aids.
What's shocking is how many people don't use their hearing aids! It's sometimes simply a case of failing to insert them daily. They may also have an ill-fitting device that causes discomfort or feedback. There are occasions when no one is around to assist with the installation. Whatever the reasons, it's essential to get to the bottom of the issue and take steps to fix it.
Explain why a hearing aid is important
Suppose your loved one spends most of their time without the assistance of a hearing aid. In that case, they will live in a confusing environment where sounds are muffled, and essential communication is a difficult task. They won't be able to socialize with their peers over dinner or participate in afternoon events. Isolation and rapid cognitive loss will result if they can't hear. Untreated hearing loss has also been related to dementia onset earlier in life and increased anxiety, fear, and frustration.
The first step in helping a loved one who suffers from hearing loss is to ensure that their hearing aid is fitted correctly and comfortably. Ensure their hearing aid is in good working order and programmed to meet their specific hearing requirements. If your loved one requires assistance, you may contact the staff and request that they assist them in putting in or taking out their hearing aid.
Keep the hearing aids to hand
Hearing aids must not be lost in a nursing home because they might get mixed up with another person's device. A hearing aid may have fallen out, or a nurse may have placed a hearing aid in her pocket when assisting someone to bed and forgotten to place it on the nightstand. Take a moment to mark your loved one's hearing aids to prevent misplacing them. Use a permanent marker to write their name on the back of the unit, and you can rest assured knowing that it will still find its way back to them.
Keep the hearing aids clean
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your loved one's hearing aids are functioning well and help them hear is keeping them clean. The nursing staff may not have time to clean your loved one's hearing aids, but you can do it yourself in a few minutes. Take the time to clean the hearing aids with a smooth, dry cloth once a week. Ensure the system is free of dirt, debris, or earwax and that none of the vents are blocked. It's also a good idea to check the batteries to make sure the hearing aids are in good working order at this time.
Establish a wear routine
Making a routine for your loved ones will make them remember to put their hearing aids on. Putting them in a case at night and getting them out in the morning is a perfect practice to develop so that your loved one doesn't forget to put their hearing aids in. Keeping a storage case on the nightstand ensures that the machines don't get knocked under the bed or slip off the table by mistake.
Regular hearing tests are essential for your loved one in a nursing home, as well as regular hearing aid maintenance. Contact us for a consultation and we can provide support and care of your loved one. Ensuring that your loved one's hearing aids are up to date and working will ensure they have access to good hearing, which will go a long way towards maintaining their health and wellbeing.