As we age, we become more susceptible to a variety of health problems, with hearing and vision loss being two of the most common conditions. Physicians often recommend regular hearing and vision screenings for older adults for this reason. These two conditions may be complicated, but knowing how to handle an aging parent’s hearing problems and vision loss can help you ensure their safety both inside and outside of the home.
Know the Numbers
So just how many older adults are affected by hearing problems and vision loss? The numbers may surprise you.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, hearing loss affects one-third of those between the ages of 65 and 74, and nearly half of those older than 75. Like hearing loss, the risk of vision loss also increases with age. Age-related macular degeneration affects over 2 million adults over the age of 50 according to the National Eye Institute.
It’s important to note that those with diabetes are at a much greater risk of hearing and vision loss. The American Diabetes Association estimates that those with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss. Vision problems are also extremely common as diabetes increases the risk of glaucoma by 40 percent and the risk of cataracts by 60 percent.
Your Next Steps
Just because your loved one is experiencing hearing or vision loss doesn’t mean that their lifestyle needs to completely change. There are solutions out there specifically designed for those suffering from hearing or vision loss. Getting used to these adjustments will certainly be a big transition for your parent, but there are ways you can help.
Here are some suggestions for how to handle an aging parent’s hearing loss:
- Face them when you talk. Your loved one may better understand you if they see your mouth move and your facial expressions.
- Speak louder without shouting. You don’t have to talk slowly or yell, but be sure to enunciate your words.
- Get rid of the background noise. Turn off the radio or TV if you and your loved one aren’t actively listening to it.
- Be patient. Experiencing hearing loss isn’t easy, and there’s certainly no shame in it. It may take some time for you both to get used to these changes, but by working together, your loved one will be able to hear better.
If your aging parent is dealing with vision loss, here are some ways you can help:
Changes At Home
Both hearing loss and vision loss can lead to accidents at home if you haven’t taken the right precautions. Whether your loved one lives alone or lives with you, there are steps you can take to make the house a safer place for their failing senses.
Falls are a big concern for those who suffer from hearing problems and vision loss, and can end up leading to additional health complications down the road. Consider purchasing a medical alert system to keep them protected and ensure they will always have access to help should they need it.