Geriatric Hearing Loss

hearingFace it, we often joke about someone getting older and not being able to hear. While it may be funny to give a friend or loved one a hard time about not being able to hear you or being ‘over the hill’ – when it comes to geriatrics, there are serious statistics regarding hearing loss and the care required for those who suffer with the condition.

According to MedicineNet, 33% of Americans from age 65 to 74 have some degree of hearing problems. The number jumps to 50% when you consider those that are age 85 and older. Those are significant numbers when you think of your friends, loved ones and family members who require geriatric care1. Considering those stats, hearing loss is far from funny in the world of geriatric medicine and care. It highly affects the lives of patients as well as their friends and loved ones. If it goes untreated, hearing loss can get worse and severely inhibit the patient from normal functioning each day1.

Hearing loss considerably affects geriatric patients not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. As people get older, they feel the effects of their age through physical limitations, maybe some new aches and pains – hearing loss is no different.

Geriatric patients struggling with hearing loss may feel like they are missing out on life. If your friend or loved one is in this situation, do your best to make them feel comfortable and care for them. Stay patient and take time, when you can, to repeat what was said when they miss a sentence or two.

What if you are the one affected? How do you know if you have considerable hearing loss that requires care or therapy? Ask yourself a couple questions (thanks to MedicineNet):

“ 1. Have trouble hearing over the telephone,

2. Find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking,

3. Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain,

4. Have a problem hearing because of background noise,

5. Sense that others seem to mumble, or

6. Can’t understand when women and children speak to you. 1

If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, seek care from a doctor or geriatrics therapy facility. Do not be ashamed – there are ways they can help! This could include a hearing aide or other therapy by an audiologist, a healthcare professional trained to assist with hearing1.

1 US Government (2014). Hearing Loss and Aging. MedicineNet. Retrieved May 15, 2014 from