(BPT) - Spending time with people you love is what makes the holiday season special. But for parents and grandparents who suffer from hearing loss, gathering with family and friends can be grueling.
One in three adults over 65 experience hearing loss, which can be exhausting. People with even mild hearing loss often withdraw from activities they love due to fatigue, frustration and embarrassment, which can lead to isolation, depression and even dementia.
Until recently, hearing aids were expensive and required a prescription from a hearing health professional. That changed in October, when the FDA authorized over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. Now adults with mild to moderate hearing loss can get a pair from their local pharmacy or big box store without a prescription for a fraction of the cost of traditional hearing aids and start experiencing the benefits of better hearing the same day.
How to know if someone you love has hearing loss
The average person waits seven years from the onset of hearing loss symptoms to get hearing aids, and many don’t realize for years that their hearing has deteriorated. This holiday season, you can help by watching for common signs of hearing loss in friends and family, such as:
- Keeping the radio or television at an uncomfortably high volume.
- Constantly asking others to repeat themselves.
- Falling or losing balance frequently.
- Getting easily fatigued from social activities, especially in environments with a lot of background noise.
What can you do to help?
There are several easy ways to help people with hearing loss enjoy the holidays this year:
- Don’t ignore obvious signs. If someone you love is showing signs of hearing loss, help them take a free 3-minute hearing test online at lexiehearing.com to confirm and assess the severity of their hearing loss.
- Create a comfortable environment. People with mild to moderate hearing loss can’t easily distinguish between conversations and background noise. Help them have quality conversations by creating a quiet space free from TV, music or excessive background chatter. If they seem tired or overwhelmed, help them take a break outside or in a separate room where they can rest their ears.
- Try a hearing aid. If an online hearing test indicates mild to moderate hearing loss, try over-the-counter hearing aids. Many offer the same features as prescription options but cost a fraction of the price. Quality brands like Lexie Hearing sell them in pairs at pharmacies and big box stores nationwide.
What to look for in a hearing aid.
Choosing the right hearing aid is important. While most over-the-counter models come at a much lower cost than traditional hearing aids, not all offer the same quality and features.
- FDA labeling. Be sure to get a model that meets FDA standards. Read the packaging carefully — devices sanctioned by the FDA will be labeled accordingly.
- Generous return policies. Look for brands that have generous return policies so you can try them out when you’ll get the most benefit. Lexie offers 45-day returns on all products, including its newest Lexie B2 Hearing Aids, Powered by Bose, and encourages users to wear them for at least three weeks to adjust to better hearing.
- Great reviews. Check out device reviews. If your hearing aid runs from a phone app, consider what current users say about the product by reading app store reviews before purchasing. Make sure there’s a track record of happy customers.
Don't let hearing loss detract from your joy this holiday. Help your loved ones take control of their hearing and make the most of every moment together.