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Hearing Loss Adds to Caregiver Stress

Elderly woman with hearing loss
Hearing loss among seniors is a common problem, and a recent survey reveals this condition causes stress for caregivers as well.

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Hearing-impaired seniors can put themselves in danger of getting inappropriate medical care at the doctor’s office. If your parent is in such a predicament, that can create more stress for you. Enlist the help of a friend or Home Instead CAREGiverSM if you can’t be there with Mom or Dad.

Q. My father’s hearing loss is making it more difficult for him to get the medical care he needs when I can’t accompany him to doctor’s appointments. Do you have any suggestions?

Hearing loss among seniors is a common problem, and a recent survey reveals this condition causes stress for caregivers as well. In fact, eight of 10 caregivers surveyed expressed concern about hearing loss in the person for whom they care, and 86 percent of that group feels that a person’s inability to hear clearly can affect the daily care they receive.

The National Caregivers Survey of professional and family caregivers, released by Songbird Hearing, Inc., also found that one of four professional caregivers believes that a patient’s hearing loss may have led to medical misunderstandings and mistakes.

Family caregivers often find themselves juggling an overwhelming amount of responsibility, and the National Caregivers Survey revealed that dealing with hearing loss adds to the stress. Survey respondents who take the person they care for to the doctor or pharmacy do so an average of four to five times per week and three to four times per month respectively.

The survey also confirmed that it is often the caregiver who first notices a person’s hearing problem, citing signs such as needing people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on the TV or radio, responding inappropriately to questions and avoiding social situations.

Despite these signs, 72 percent of those showing signs of hearing loss are not addressing the problem. Reasons these people chose not to wear a hearing aid included cost, discomfort, inconvenience and vanity.

Please make an effort to convince your father that he is putting himself in danger by his unwillingness to address his hearing problems. If he doesn’t, always try to ensure that he has someone with him when he goes to his doctor’s appointments and pharmacy visits. If you can’t be there, arrange for a family friend or professional caregiver to accompany him.

The local Home Instead® office hires CAREGiversSM, for instance, who can serve as ears for your dad and a second set of eyes for you when your father needs to go to the doctor and you can’t be there. CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and well-equipped to assist with the many needs of seniors and their family caregivers. Also, go to for more ways that you can be prepared for an emergency with an older adult.

For more about the study, view

Last revised: October 11, 2011

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