No matter what age your loved one experiences hearing loss at, it’s of the utmost importance that he or she stays active in the face of this challenge. Whether it’s your toddler who has had hearing loss since they were a newborn or a parent who has been recently diagnosed, physical activity can help reverse some of the negative mental health issues associated with hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be very isolating, no matter how old you are. This isolation can result in anxiety and, eventually, depression if it’s not addressed. You may notice that your loved one is more reserved than normal or that they’ve withdrawn from activities. People with hearing loss often withdraw from social situations, so that they don’t repeat something that’s already been said or ask a question related to an issue that’s previously been addressed. It can feel belittling to always be out of the loop. Here’s how you can encourage your loved one to stay active in the face of hearing loss.
Identify the issue.
First and foremost, before you make assumptions, you need to double-check that hearing loss is really the issue preventing your loved one from being active. It’s important that you take them to an audiologist for a hearing test. During a screening test, an audiologist will use headphones and tones played at different volumes to identify the hearing range of their patient. After this and a physical examination, the audiologist will be able to prove or disprove your concerns and take the necessary steps from there.
When dealing with a child’s hearing, it’s particularly important to see a specialist who can carry out a hearing screening. Your child may have had an ear infection that caused gradual hearing loss, and this can cause delays in language development and behavioral issues. A specialist knows exactly how to administer hearing tests for children and infants and will have the appropriate equipment. Make sure a true professional is the one diagnosing the issue.
Create a welcoming environment for swimming.
Swimming at a public pool can be difficult for children and adults with hearing loss. Your child’s hearing issue may make them miss important safety instructions from a lifeguard, especially at a distance. With so much happening at a public pool, they may also miss a lifeguard’s physical gestures. If your child gets into trouble just because they couldn’t hear, they may not want to try swimming again. Likewise, an adult may find it frustrating, because they can’t easily communicate with the person that they’re swimming laps in the same lane with.
If you’re a homeowner, you can encourage your loved one to be a swimmer by installing your own swimming pool in the backyard. There are many benefits of getting a pool for someone with hearing loss. At your own pool, younger children and older children can safely navigate the water, because they know to watch you for safety instructions, while still having a great time and getting exercise. If you’re buying a swimming pool for an elderly parent, water aerobics provide a great way for them to stay active, while avoiding joint injury. They won’t have to worry about missing instructions from an aerobics instructor. They can create their own program. The cost and time of pool maintenance are well worth giving your loved one the freedom that comes with their own pool. Not to mention, due to the CDC’s COVID recommendations, it’s not safe to be using public pools right now anyway.
Find a safe environment for group fitness.
It can be difficult to be physically engaged when you have to do it all on your own, and motivation is key to a healthy physical routine. To encourage someone with hearing loss to use their body, find a way to make it fun and inviting. For children, there may be soccer teams or other team sports made up of children with hearing loss. If your neighborhood or town doesn’t offer a program like that, find a team that’s going to be inclusive. If you’re trying to encourage your parent to stay active for the endorphins as well as the health benefits, sign them up for a senior fitness center. Even if their mobility is limited, they could be on a chair volleyball team. Inclusion and physical activity will have your loved one feeling welcomed and excited for each new day.