More than 46 million people in the United States experience some kind of communication disorder, generally concerning speech and hearing.
That’s why many organizations have joined together to create Better Hearing and Speech Month. It’s a time to make the public more aware of the different disorders, modern treatment options and the latest findings from medical research.
If you are a family caregiver for an aging relative, you should know that elderly adults frequently suffer from both hearing and speech issues. Now is the ideal time to focus on their health and wellness in these two areas.
Hearing Loss in Elderly Adults
Many aging adults hesitate to share their problems with family members or home care providers. Often, they are embarrassed or don’t want to wear hearing aids. Sometimes the hearing loss is so gradual that they don’t notice how much they can’t hear. When family caregivers notice the elderly adult become more withdrawn, avoid gatherings or struggle to comprehend basic conversation, it may be time for a hearing assessment.
There are many different types of illnesses and conditions that can lead to hearing loss. Among the most common are tinnitus, otitis externa, Meniere’s Disease, otomycosis, and presbycusis, just to name a few. The good news is that many of these conditions that lead to hearing loss can be treated with medicine, hearing aids or other means. If your elderly relative seems like they could benefit from a visit to an audiologist, you should not delay in setting that up.
Speech Disorders in Elderly Adults
Aging can have a direct impact on speech and communication. Sometimes, seniors are affected by a stroke or other illness, which can affect both the brain’s ability to form speech and the body’s ability to regulate and control muscles in the mouth and throat. Without speech, elderly adults have a difficult time communicating with friends, family and home care providers. They can’t join in conversations or express their wants and needs properly.
Besides a stroke, there are many other factors that might contribute to speech disorders. Among the more common ones for seniors are stuttering, dysphagia, aphasia, apraxia and poor dental health. Speech and language disorders must be treated by a speech pathologist who can evaluate and counsel the aging adult. Many seniors regain much of their speaking ability and improve their quality of life. There’s no doubt that when aging adults can communicate their needs that they remain more engaged with the people and events around them.
Everyone who provides care for your elderly relative, from family members to home care providers, should be on the lookout for signs that the aging person needs a professional consultation and evaluation regarding hearing and speech. With May as Better Hearing and Speech Month, there are lots of resources available in communities across the country to help guide you.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care in Laguna Beach, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!