Life is just a series of adjustment periods, isn’t it? For both your loved one and for your entire family, the process of moving into a nursing home can be destabilizing. On one hand, they are forgoing the autonomy and independence of living on their own. On the other hand, they are in a much safer place with professionals equipped to handle their caregiving needs and a built in social life that is highly accessible.
As you plan for the ways you might support your loved one as they transition to a nursing home, don’t forget to maintain their hearing aid practices, which can fall through the cracks in their new routine.
How hearing aids end up at the wayside
One of the reasons people give up on their hearing aids is that they do not allocate the proper adjustment time, or they can fall out of practice. It can take quite a while to get used to hearing with devices, and the process can seem exhausting or perhaps they don’t feel supported.
However, the consequences of bailing on hearing aids can be quite negative. Having greater access to hearing can make your loved one feel more connected to the world. They are more likely to be able to advocate for themselves and retain vibrancy in their lives.
Get to know the staff
It’s obviously important because they’ll be the ones providing care and support for your loved one, getting to know the staff can be helpful in maintaining a steady presence at the nursing home. You can inquire about the routines your family member or loved one is engaged in and which staff members are primarily responsible. This makes it easier for you to request that they address individual needs and routines of your loved one or family member.
Find out about facility policies
You’re probably not the only family member to be concerned about hearing aid procedure. Ask the staff at your loved one’s facility to give you the rundown on what their standard operating procedures around hearing aids and hearing assistive devices already is.
You can also investigate whether the lecture, entertainment or movie areas are equipped with assistive listening devices, like hearing loops, that your loved one might be able to access. You’ll discover whether their hearing aids are compatible or if they will need special adjustments to get looped in. The social aspect of a nursing home can be incredibly beneficial for your loved one, and any assistance you can provide on that end is certainly welcome.
While your loved one is in a nursing home, you can help them by being a source of support and motivation to stay with the practice of wearing their hearing aids. Ask that they leave them in when you are spending time together, and ask caregivers to give gentle reminders about using hearing aids each morning. With steady persistence, you can encourage your loved one to keep up the habit of using hearing aids, and keep them comfortable and engaged in their hearing health.
Clean up and storage
Make it easy to store their hearing aids at night by providing a clean, dry compartment at their bedside. Both the storage container and the hearing aids should be labeled with their last name and room number. Include a small list of instructions, or a checklist, so that they can wipe them down each evening.
While you are visiting, prioritize time to take a look at the condition of their hearing aids and make sure their batteries are working.
Check in on the fit
Your loved one may be reluctant to wear their hearing aids if the fit is no longer as comfortable. Like everything else on our bodies, our ears can change shape and size over time. This is of particular concern if people lose or gain large amounts of weight.
Ask your loved one if their hearing aids are painful or not as comfortable as they once were. It can take a simple fitting appointment with an audiologist to see if there is a way to enhance the wearability of their device.
Maintenance (occasionally) required
Every now and again, even the most reliable machines need serviced. While at the audiologist, they’ll check to make sure everything mechanical is working properly. Schedule time once or twice a year (or if your loved one reports difficulty) to bring their hearing aids in for a maintenance check up.
Additionally, regular hearing tests should be scheduled for your loved one. Our team of hearing health professionals would be happy to talk about what sort of schedule makes the most sense for their situation. We’re eager to partner with you to ensure that your loved one continues to enjoy the most enhanced hearing health possible.