(BPT) - Every family, it seems, has at least one goofy relative who adds some excitement to holiday gatherings. And for many, getting older means getting goofier – whether it’s Aunt Edna who insists on bringing the same casserole that no one wants to eat year after year, or cousin Joe and his conspiracy theories involving elves and coal-filled stockings. But there’s nothing funny about hearing loss – one aspect of aging that can dim the holidays for both the person experiencing it and the people who love him or her.
“The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders tells us that one in five Americans struggles with hearing loss, and that ratio drops to one in three for people older than 65,” says Dr. Sara Burdak of hearing aid manufacturer Starkey Hearing Technologies. “Holiday gatherings can be particularly problematic for people with untreated hearing loss, as many loud voices, background music and noise can make it difficult to follow, participate in and feel a part of conversations and celebrations.”
Families may struggle with how to help their loved ones cope. Talking about the problem is the first step toward treating hearing loss, but families may be unsure how to begin the conversation. The holidays, however, present the perfect opportunity to discuss a family member’s hearing loss in a supportive, positive atmosphere, Burdak points out.
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