Hearing Aids for Elderly
Hearing Aids for the Elderly Must Often Address Specific Needs
The relative abilities of those in their senior years tend to vary quite widely. However, for most people, the advancing years can definitely play a visible role in defining the difference between the things which they are able to cope with easily and those that are becoming more of a chore. In practice, it can be important to take such considerations into account when designing and prescribing hearing aids that are best suited for use by the elderly.
Technology that is convenient to use is frequently one of the most important requirements for those among the nation’s more mature citizens, For example, many older people would prefer to rely on a unit that does not burden them with the expense and inconvenience of replacing its battery at frequent intervals. Fortunately, there is a simple alternative that can help them avoid this issue when one is selecting hearing aids for the elderly. Many of the newer units on sale today make use of rechargeable batteries. Thus, by carrying a fully-charged spare, the wearer gains the means with which to cut his or her costs, as well as to avoid potentially embarrassing down-time. Rather than purchasing a replacement unit, Phonak also offers the option of a retrofit for some of our earlier models.
Whether the hearing aids are intended for the elderly or for a younger subject, most patients prefer to choose the degree of control they will be able to have over the operation of their devices. For this reason, most designers offer units ranging from the fully automatic and automatic with a manual override option, to models that are restricted solely to manual control. Typically, such control is required as a means with which to adjust the volume or to make the appropriate selection from among the various listening programmes that serve to adapt the device for use in differing sound environments.
The manual adjustment of hearing aids can be awkward for the elderly. Models worn behind the ear are the best option, as the better spacing of the microphones makes them more effective. However, as the controls tend to be located on the device, they need to be operated by feel, denying the option for the user to see what he or she is doing. Where a user wishes to retain some level of control rather than opting for an automated model, a remote control similar to that used with a TV, could be the answer. Because they are reasonably large with clearly-labelled buttons, they require less dexterity on the part of the user and are easily seen, so they can help to reduce the chances of making a mistake.
In practice, deciding which hearing aids might prove best for the elderly is a task that might be better left to an audiologist. As an experienced healthcare professional, he or she will conduct an assessment of a patient’s specific needs from which it will then be possible to make a more informed choice based upon the established lifestyle, preferences, and physical abilities of any given individual.
While fear of technology can often arouse negative reactions in older people, many others are learning to embrace it and to enjoy some of its many benefits. Among those that are most appreciated are the telephone and the TV. The former serves to keep them in touch with others and offers a lifeline in case of an emergency, while the latter is often a welcome comfort for those living alone, as well as a means with which to keep them entertained. Consequently, among the features of today’s breed of more advanced hearing aids for the elderly, the ability to interact with devices such as these will often be high on the list.
For someone whose children and grandchildren may have emigrated and found a new life in Queensland or California, what could bring more joy than the means with which to share a video call with their loved ones across the ocean? Digital technology allows modern units to interface with devices that employ the same technology. The range of compatible devices includes smartphones, laptops and tablets, DAB radios, iPods, and of course, those big-screen TV sets. Clearly not all of those are of interest to old people, but the combination of hearing aids for the elderly and the ability to connect to a phone or the TV with a click of a remote control could be a life changer.