Isolation takes its toll.
During the pandemic, many seniors have become isolated from their family and peers.
According to the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), older adults who have been successful hearing aid users may be using their hearing aids less because they feel there is no one to interact with, and this will result in reduced sound input to the brain and can result in auditory deprivation.
“Family members and friends should encourage their loved ones to continue to use their hearing aids — there is always sound around us,” explained Catherine Palmer, PhD, president of the AAA. “Hearing aids require ongoing maintenance, and for some individuals, their hearing aids may not be functioning well or at all and they may not be able to get to their audiologist for routine care.
“If an individual continues to use their hearing aid when it is not working, it functions like an earplug—actually blocking sound.”
Luckily, many audiologists have provided online telehealth appointments and curbside care for people who cannot come into a clinic safely. Some senior living facilities are allowing audiologists to come into their buildings after they have had a temperature check and/or met CDC criteria.