As senior advisors in Vancouver, WA we see several different kinds of communication disorders that can affect seniors. Understanding the symptoms of these speech, language and hearing problems can help seniors receive the treatment they need as soon as possible.
The most common communication problem is hearing loss, which affects more than 10 million seniors in the U.S., and is usually age-related hearing loss. This loss of hearing happens gradually, and usually begins with difficulty hearing high frequency sounds such as voices. Symptoms include problems hearing in noisy environments, ringing in the ears, and voices sounding muffled. The primary treatment for this condition is hearing aids.
Aphasia is an impairment of language ability. The major causes of aphasia are stroke and head injury. Symptoms may include the inability to understand language, the inability to form or pronounce words, and the inability to read or write. Aphasia presents differently in different people and is usually treated by a team of experts which may include a doctor, a speech therapist, a psychologist, and an occupational therapist. Treatment by a team has been shown to produce positive results for many seniors who can learn to function with these limitations.
Dysarthria is a disorder that makes it difficult to produce normal speech. Causes of dysarthria can include degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease and ALS, also embolic stroke and traumatic brain injury. Treatment encompasses a variety of techniques used by speech therapists.
If you or your loved one notices a change in speech, memory, hearing or communication it should be reported to your doctor right away, so the problem can be evaluated and treated. There can sometimes be an underlying medical condition that is causing the problem, so it’s important to address the issue promptly. A Caring Heart senior advisers Vancouver WA know that the ability to communicate clearly is essential to quality of life.