We all talk about aging, senior citizens, old age, and elderly quite sympathetically. As if it is a pitiful situation. This is not true. It is a natural process of life.
From the fifties up to at least the mid sixties are the golden years of a person’s life. During this decade a person is very good at applying what has been learned. People are happier, more in control of themselves and better tuned to other people’s emotions. People over the age of sixty five or people with age related impairments are generally known as the elderly.
Sure, the body does start the aging process. There is a slowdown in all the physical processes and faculties of the body. This is generally evident after the age of sixty five.
The first sign of aging is dementia. Dementia is a general term for a gradual decline in mental and physical ability but not severe enough to interfere with daily life. The first symptom is memory loss. This is not to be mistaken for being demented. Demented means deranged, unstable or insane.
In the aging process, generally, the first to get affected after memory, are sight and hearing. Affected eye sight is easily recognized but a hearing loss creeps in very stealthily. It is an invisible loss. Even those affected with hearing loss do not actually realize that their hearing is affected.Once hearing loss is identified and accepted only then is the impact felt.
The first signs of hearing loss is when a person cups the ear to hear better, or asks for repeats. Some people want the radio/TV louder than normal. Some people withdraw into themselves in the company of others and do not take part in conversations. There is also a significantly lower participation in activities with the family. This happens because the elderly feel embarrassed about their disability and the fact that they have “aged”.
Another reason for hiding hearing loss is the wearing of a hearing aid. Most people do not know about the advances made in the hearing aid technology. They feel embarrassed wearing the large and very noticeable hearing aids which loudly announce the hearing loss.
Economics too play a significant role in opting for hearing aids.
It is the onus on the family to take care and try and integrate a hearing disabled person into the mainstream of life. They should have compassion, understanding and most importantly understanding towards the family member with a hearing loss
Hearing loss is like most other ailments. Can be treated and the person can lead a near normal life especially with strong family support.