As people lose their hearing, they may become less likely to participate in social activities that involve conversation, which can lead to isolation.

Hearing loss can take physical, emotional and social toll

From social isolation to increased risk of falls, here’s what you need to know

“Would you like a roll, Dad?” Marilyn asked her dad, age 84, across the restaurant table.

Marilyn’s dad looked up with raised eyebrows, his signal that he knew his daughter was speaking to him, but he had not caught what she said.

“DAD,” Marilyn fairly shouted, leaning toward him and speaking slowly. “WOULD YOU LIKE A ROLL?”

“Ah,” her dad said with a smile, “yes, I would. Thank you.”

Marilyn saw a couple of heads turn her way and felt embarrassed. She wondered if those other diners thought she was yelling at her dad in anger or something. She tried to wrap up their lunch as quickly as possible, avoiding further conversation to save them both the frustration.

Like thousands of other family caregivers across North America, Marilyn was learning how to cope with her dad’s hearing loss. She knew the situation was stressful for him because he frequently expressed his frustration at not being able to participate in conversations. What hurt him the most, he said, was not being able to hear the first words his great-granddaughter said.

Effects of Hearing Loss

The effects of hearing loss can extend beyond the most obvious frustrations for the person experiencing hearing impairment and everyone with whom that person communicates. The following are a few effects to be aware of:

  • Social isolation. As people lose their hearing, they may become less likely to participate in social activities that involve conversation, which can lead to isolation. But the effects of hearing loss extend far beyond the social consequences.
  • Emotional challenges. Hearing loss can lead to emotional issues, including sadness and depression according to Statistics Canada. One study by the U.S. National Council on Aging found that people who did not treat their hearing loss were 50 per cent more likely to report symptoms of depression.
  • Increased risk of falls. The ear plays a key role in balance, and hearing loss is considered a “modifiable risk factor” for falls, according to a report by doctors Frank R. Lin and Luigi Ferrucci. If a loved one experiences frequent falls, it may be worthwhile to suggest they have their hearing checked.
  • Stress on family caregivers. Hearing loss can exact a toll on family caregivers. Trying to communicate with a person who can’t hear is often exasperating and disheartening. Spousal caregivers might experience sadness due to the loss of companionship that can be caused by hearing loss.

Family caregivers can help loved ones recognize hearing loss by looking for some of the signs outlined by the Canadian Hearing Society.

Older adults with hearing loss might:

  • Frequently complain of a “poor connection” to excuse an inability to hear telephone conversations clearly
  • Not participate in conversations in group settings, such as a family gathering
  • Ask people to repeat things frequently
  • Make comments that don’t match the conversation that’s underway
  • Turn up the TV volume or speak in a loud voice
  • Avoid face-to-face chats and turn to email or texting instead

To learn more about hearing loss and how to talk about it with empathy, visit caregiverstress.com

Comments are closed

Just Posted

UVic announces review into circumstances of fatal bus crash

Upcoming student trip on the same route not cancelled

Historic camp celebrates 75 years in Sooke

Camp Barnard donated to Scouts Canada in 1944

Pacific FC, Dodd’s Furniture team up for local food banks

CPL team offering one free ticket to Oct. 2 game for two non-perishable food donations

Hundreds gather at fundraising kickoff for ‘Kings Park’ purchase

Campaign to raise $2.75 million for the District of Saanich underway

Collector car season rolling to season’s end at Turkey Head

European car and coffee meet is every third Sunday

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

21 years: Grand Chief Stewart Philip to continue leading B.C. Indian Chiefs union

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip acclaimed as president of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Murder charges laid after body pulled from Fraser River ID’ed as missing man

Accused also face one count each of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

B.C. MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud, breach of trust

Charges announced Sept. 19 more than two years after Martin fired Desmond Devnich for alleged thefts

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

RCMP seize $1.9 million in B.C. traffic stop

The driver and passenger were detained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

Most Read