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Hearing Loss Means Additional Caregiver Stress

Hearing-impaired seniors can be putting themselves in danger of receiving inappropriate medical care from their doctor(s). If your parent or loved one is in such a predicament, it can result in more stress for you. Get a friend to help if you can’t be at a particular doctor’s appointment.

Hearing loss is a fairly common problem among seniors. Recent research reveals that hearing loss can cause stress for caregivers too. In fact, eight of ten caregivers surveyed expressed concern about hearing loss in the person for whom they care. 86% of this group feels that the person’s inability to hear clearly negatively affects the daily care they receive.

The National Caregivers Survey (NCS) of professional and family caregivers, released by Songbird Hearing, Inc., also found that one of four professional caregivers believes that a patient’s hearing loss may have led to medical misunderstandings and mistakes.

The Impact on Caregivers

Family caregivers often juggle an overwhelming amount of responsibility, and the NCS revealed that dealing with hearing loss adds to their already stressful lives. Doctor and pharmacy visits alone account for a great deal of responsibility. Survey respondents who take the person they care for to the doctor or pharmacy do so an average of four to five times per week and three to four times per month respectively.

The survey also confirmed that it is often the caregiver who first notices a person’s hearing problem, citing signs such as frequently asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on the TV or radio, responding inappropriately to questions and avoiding social situations.

72% of those showing signs of hearing loss choose not to address the problem. Cost, discomfort, inconvenience and vanity tend to be the most common reasons people choose not to wear hearing aids.

You need to convince your father that he is putting himself in danger through his unwillingness to address his hearing problems. If he doesn’t, try to ensure that he has someone with him whenever he goes to his doctor’s appointments and pharmacy visits. If you can’t be there, arrange for a family friend or professional caregiver to accompany him.