You know that if your aging parents are coping with diminished hearing their hearing aids can be valuable for helping them to better interact with other people, keep them safer as they are going about their day, support greater independence, and keep their quality of life higher. What you might not have realized is that wearing their hearing aids consistently can also help to protect their brain health and ward off dementia.
A recent study published in the “Journal of the American Geriatrics Society” explored the impact of hearing aids on cognitive skills, using annual questionnaires and psychological testing to review the skills and changes within more than 3,500 adults over the course of 25 years. The results confirmed what had been suspected for quite some time; that hearing loss is linked to more prevalent and faster rates of cognitive decline. What it went on to show, however, may be surprising.
Over the course of the study participants who routinely wore their hearing aids as part of their regular daily life showed the same rates of cognitive decline as those participants of the same age but who did not having hearing loss. The rate of cognitive decline in both groups was significantly less than that of those participants who suffered from hearing loss but who did not routinely wear their hearing aids.
There are several reasons that these results occur, including the fact that seniors who are dealing with hearing loss but who routinely wear their hearing aids:
• Have more elevated moods
• Tend to interact with others move often and on a more personal, meaningful level
• More frequently participate in mentally stimulating activities such as games and debates
• Have a better perception of their quality of life
• Feel safer and more secure in their surroundings
• Have better relationships with their family members
• Are more confident and have higher self-esteem
According to the American Academy of Audiology, there are approximately 36 million people in the United States right now who are dealing with hearing loss, and 95 percent of those people could experience benefits from a hearing aid. Unfortunately, a large percentage of them do not use them.
If your seniors are resistant to using a hearing aid, or have just been prescribed such a device, use these tips to help them use the aid consistently so that they can get the most benefits:
• Right fit. Visit with the doctor and make sure that the aid is properly fitted to your seniors’ ear. An ill-fitting hearing aid can be uncomfortable and even painful
• Be realistic. If your parents are expecting a hearing aid to immediately make it so that they can hear completely and clearly again, they will be disappointed. Make sure that they understand that the hearing aid will help them to hear better, but will not make it so that they hear as they did before they started losing their hearing. Having realistic expectations will ensure your parents get used to their devices as quickly as possible
• Be patient. It can be challenging to get used to wearing a hearing aid. It might feel awkward, sounds may be strange, and the difference can get overwhelming. Encourage your parents to stay patient and consistent as they will get used to their hearing aid within a few weeks and be able to use it without even thinking about it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care services in Rio Verde, AZ, contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands Home Care at (480) 725-7002.
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