1 in 6 Australians are currently experiencing some form of hearing loss, and for those ageing in place, this statistic can be as high as 3 in 4! Every year during the first week of March we help raise awareness around this important issue as part of Hearing Awareness Week.
Hearing loss impacts our ability to communicate, and therefore connect and have fulfilling relationships with those around us. Whether you are receiving in-home care or through aged care services, hearing loss can limit our ability to:
- Follow instructions given by our aged care services and our doctor
- Enjoy a joke with friends
- Shop with ease
The question becomes, are these limitations something we need to live with as we get older, or are there ways that we can live better with hearing loss?
With ageing years, hearing tends to decline gradually, and so it can be hard for us to notice that things might have changed until the loss becomes quite severe. To those around us, including our in-home health care supports, it may be a little more apparent.
Signs that you might be experiencing hearing loss include:
- Finding that you need to ask for repetition more frequently
- Turning up the TV louder, compared to others preferred volume
- Finding it harder to follow conversation when there are other noises in the room
- Finding it harder to follow conversation in group situations
- Finding it harder to follow conversation when you can’t face someone, such as when in the car, or even when someone is wearing a mask.
Hearing does decline as part of the normal ageing process, but that doesn’t have to make hearing loss something we should just accept and not act on. More and more research is coming out to show that maintaining hearing health has a strong correlation to maintaining cognitive health and prevention of dementia2.
Help with your hearing is readily available these days, and usually starts with a quick hearing test, which could be done online as a screening test, or in person with a qualified hearing healthcare professional like an audiologist or audiometrist who may be able to visit you for in-home health care or through aged care services. Getting an understanding of your hearing levels can be the start of understanding how to best manage your hearing health. For many people this will involve a combination of strategies to improve communication, as well as hearing devices or hearing aid use.
Hearing aids carry a lot of negative stigma unfortunately, as historically they were considered unsightly, and not very helpful to boot. These days, technology in hearing aids has come leaps and bounds, they are fully digital, which means it is computerised, and customised to each individual ear and person’s hearing needs. While a hearing aid won’t restore your hearing to the levels it may have been in your twenties, they can remove a lot of the effort needed to hear and restore clarity and volume to everyday sounds and conversation.
But it is not only up to the person with the hearing loss to take action to help create better communication; there is a lot that you can do if you know someone who lives with hearing loss to make conversations easier. A great guide to communication when talking to someone with hearing loss comes in an easy to remember acronym we love: CARM
- Connect: Get my attention and make sure I can see your face clearly. I will understand better if we connect first and I can see you speak.
- Articulate: Speak more clearly, not more loudly. Speaking at a moderate pace and articulating is more helpful than shouting.
- Rephrase: If I didn’t understand what you said, try rephrasing it. Some sounds are more difficult for me to understand than others.
- Move: Background noise makes hearing more difficult. Move conversations somewhere quiet when necessary3.
At Home Care Assistance, our Care Workers practice CARM communication to ensure the people in our care have rich and full conversations and great connections with our in-home care team as well as their loved ones. Understanding hearing loss can be a challenge for aged care facilities and in-home care services where staffing and specialised training may not always align.
At Home Care Assistance our Care Workers, and our investment in training is second to none, which is why your loved ones are always in the best hands with us.
 Access Economics report 2006
3 Ida Institute
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.