“I know I should wear hearing aids, but why should I bother? I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be around!”
We hear this kind of response all the time in our many offices. There is usually a moment of laughter and a casual disagreement of their objection. The truth, according to new research, is that wearing hearing aids can lead to a significant improvement in quality of life for those who are nearing the end of their lives.
The January 2015 edition of The Hearing Journal, an industry magazine, included an article on a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) entitled “Dying in America”. The IOM highlighted several areas of importance for superior end-of-life care. Among the most important were:
- Frequent assessment of the patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.
- Management of emotional distress.
- Counseling of patient and family.
- Attention to the patient’s social and cultural context and social needs.
- Attention to the patient’s spiritual and religious needs.
The Hearing Review notes that a link between all of these bullet points is the need for successful communication by/with the aging patient, something that is not possible if the patient in question cannot hear properly. The article gives examples of nursing homes and hospice care programs that are successfully helping patients to find better hearing and, in turn, making a difficult season of life at least a little easier.
The last few years of life are the time when seniors ought to be hearing MORE, not less. Relationships are key. Seniors want to pass along wisdom to their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids and they want to stay a part of the social order at gatherings and holidays. They want to answer the questions of doctors and lawyers, to maintain a level of independence. Better hearing can accomplish this.
Better hearing, in fact, is key to all sorts of health improvements. The Better Hearing Institute has been publishing reports for nearly two decades on the benefits of successful hearing aid wearing – from physical to mental and emotional to even financial (those who hear better earn more money, advance farther in their jobs and find greater work satisfaction). These improvements can extend all the way to those facing the end of their lives.
Soultions for better hearing in these contexts are varied, as they are for every person and situation. If someone you love is struggling with their hearing, the best advice is to contact your nearest Hear For You office and speak to one of our specialists. They can schedule a hearing evaluation – even arranging a home visit if necessary. There is no charge for this initial consultation and can provide assistance to your loved one in these trying times.
Our toll free number is 1-800-942-HEAR (4327). We’d love to be a resource for you.
To read the full Hearing Journal report, go to: https://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/Fulltext/2015/01000/Dying_to_Be_Heard___Hearing_Healthcare_at_the_End.1.aspx