How To Manage Hearing Health And Hearing Aids In Nursing Homes

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If your elderly parents or other loved ones are now living in a nursing home, you may be facing a whole new set of care concerns. While many adult children with parents in nursing homes are happy that their parents are being cared for and part of a community that helps to prevent isolation, they may also be worried about the level of care provided in a larger setting like this. This is particularly true when it comes to the finer details such as hearing loss. The good news is that with awareness and the right strategies, you can ensure that your parent’s hearing health is managed well even when you’re not there.

The Numbers

Chances are if your parent is in a nursing home, they have hearing loss. According to the results of a cross-sectional survey, “it is estimated that 70% to 90% of elderly residents in long-term care facilities have some degree of hearing impairment. Despite this high prevalence, significant underuse of hearing aids or other assistive devices exists, especially among those with dementia.” These numbers, especially those pointing to the underuse of hearing aids, are concerning. When left untreated, hearing loss can lead to frustration and impaired communication and has been linked to depression, anxiety and dementia.

Management Of Hearing Loss In Nursing Homes

When a loved one is in a nursing home, where others are responsible for their day-to-day care, it becomes more important than ever to communicate with care workers about the management of your parent’s hearing loss. These tips and strategies can help ensure that they stay on track with their care:

  • Be involved from the start – When your parent or loved one moves into the nursing home, a plan of care will be put into place. Work with staff to ensure that hearing health care is part of that plan. This may include verifying your parent inserts his or her hearing aids each morning and removes that each evening.
  • Know your part – Your parent’s hearing care may include cleaning and care of the hearing aids and regular hearing checks, hearing aid adjustments and similar ongoing maintenance. Chances are, with staff’s heavy workload, cleaning and care for hearing aids will become your responsibility. This includes regularly checking batteries and providing replacements when needed.
  • Protect hearing aids – In a busy nursing home environment, it’s more important than ever to ensure hearing aids are not lost or damaged in the hustle and bustle. Make sure your parent has a storage case for hearing aids when they are not in use and that the case and hearing aids are labeled for easy return if they are lost.
  • Be an advocate – Communicate regularly with your parent and the nursing home staff to identify any changes in hearing. If hearing loss seems to be progressing or hearing aids no longer seem to be as effective as they once were, discuss next steps with the staff. This may include you scheduling check-ups with their hearing healthcare provider and the staff observing your parent more closely over a period of time. If you are concerned about care, speak up on your parent’s behalf.

Hearing care is an often overlooked part of nursing home care. Avoid frustration, communication difficulties and more serious concerns like depression by following these tips to ensure that hearing healthcare is part of your parent’s nursing home experience.

If you’d like more information about how to care for your parent’s hearing aids now that they are living in a nursing home, contact us. We can help guide you in ongoing care and how to manage your parent’s hearing loss.

 

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