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Hearing Problems Facing The Elderly Essay

1968 words - 8 pages

Hearing Problems and New Technologies

Young people do not often take the time to think about problems that they will face as they begin to age. One of the most common problems the elderly population faces is hearing loss. Hearing loss is the 3rd most reported health problems in the elderly behind arthritis and hypertension (Lesnoff-Caravaglia, 2007). Hearing loss is commonly considered to be a common part of the aging process. As the large baby boomer population begins to age, hearing loss continues to become a growing problem. The main cause of hearing loss is noise exposure over time. The more one is exposed to loud noises over their life time, the more susceptible they are to ...view middle of the document...

A cochlear implant works by using a battery powered current to stimulate the auditory nerve. This procedure is not often used due to the extremely high cost.
The remainder of this paper will continue to discuss hearing problems in the elderly from the perspective of five different disciplines; psychology, sociology, medicine, economics and biology.
Psychology
Hearing loss can have a negative psychological effect on an individual that experiences the loss of hearing. The loss of hearing can have negative effects on a person’s quality of life. Some negative effects that a person with hearing loss may experience are; less social activity, more episodes of isolation, more episodes of sadness and depression more episodes of feeling tense, irritable or anxious (Goldstein). These negative psychological effects can avoided if a person decides to get a hearing aid. In general, hearing aids may; increase ability to hear environmental sounds, reduce speech reading effort, reduce communication stress/fatigue level, improve understanding of speech with of without visual cues, improve ability to use the telephone, increase appreciation of music (Hearing Aids ). Some research has indicated that hearing loss can be linked with other health problems. It's not that hearing loss causes or worsens other diseases, but that the condition worsens the perceived symptoms associated with disease. "Hearing loss can cause depression and feelings of isolation, but it also tends to heighten people's awareness of the impact of physical disease on their lives," Crandell said. "We've found that when we put hearing aids on people, they report improved health" (University Of Florida). Hearing loss can have a damaging psychological effects, but these effects can be avoided with the use of hearing aid devices. A hearing aid allows elderly people combat their hearing loss and let them continue to enjoy their quality of life.
Sociology
In today’s society, hearing loss can be seen as a stigma. A stigma is mostly a social disease by which society imposes this negative status on a person or groups of people; however, a person may self-stigmatize their own conditions due to feelings of shame and embarrassment. A Stigma can be thought of as a spoiled identity by which a person may have a shortcoming, failing, or handicap (Atcherson, 2002). Elderly individuals that experience hearing loss may be less socially accepted because they are not able to communicate as well. People may choose not to talk to them because they know they are hard of hearing and the person does not want to have to continue to repeat themselves. This makes some elderly people less socially involved.
Some elderly people choose not to use hearing aids because they fear of being stigmatized and socially awkward as a person that needs a hearing aid. They feel that they will be viewed different in society if they have to rely on a hearing device. Many elderly people do not realize that...

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