May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, which is an excellent time for family caregivers to focus on how well their elderly relative is doing in those areas.
There are many age-related illnesses and issues that can affect both hearing and speech, making it hard for seniors to stay fully engaged with people and events they enjoy. This public awareness campaign focuses on educating people on the various speech-language, hearing and similar disorders that millions of Americans, including seniors, suffer from each year.
The good news is that many hearing and speech issues are treatable, but they remain serious if they are not diagnosed.
A number of disorders are caused by disease, illness, injury and age-related health issues. Sometimes the problems happen gradually, such as hearing loss over many years due to age. Other instances are more immediate, such as the loss of speech and swallowing ability after a stroke. Without the ability to hear or to speak, an elderly adult’s quality of life is significantly affected.
When seniors have hearing issues, they are not able to be involved in conversations, watch television, talk on the phone to loved ones or receive instructions from doctors, home care providers and family caregivers. Speech problems are similar in that they cannot communicate effectively with friends, family members, and home care providers. Elderly adults can experience a significant reduction in their physical, social and emotional health when they don’t get help with hearing and speech.
Here are some of the more common hearing issues that aging adults often develop:
- Otitis externa (inflammation of the ear canal)
- Meniere’s Disease (inner ear disease)
- Otomycosis (fungal infection of the external ear canal)
- Tinnitus (chronic ringing or buzzing sounds)
- Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss)
- These are some common speech issues that seniors face:
- Stuttering or articulation problems
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Aphasia (impairment in speaking due to stroke)
- Apraxia (problems with sequencing sounds)
- Dysarthria (weakened muscles resulting in slurred speech)
If family caregivers or home care providers notice a decline in an elderly person’s ability to hear or to speak, they should do what they can to set up an appointment with a family doctor.
They will likely be referred to a specialist, such as an audiologist or a speech-language pathologist. These medical professionals will work with the elderly adult to help them cope with their unique issues. No matter what their issue is, the professionals will be able to help. Aging adults can overcome hearing and speech challenges with assistive technology like hearing aids or speech therapy exercises to communicate better.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Rockridge, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.
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