Action on Hearing Loss’ have published guidance for staff in residential care homes designed to support service users who have hearing loss. The central thrust of the guidance is a recognition that deafness and hearing loss shouldn’t stop older people living well in residential care homes. The guide provides practical tips and advice for care staff on improving the quality of care for older people who are deaf or have hearing loss. More than two-thirds of older people have hearing loss. Around 71% of people aged over 70 have some kind of hearing loss. It’s estimated that 75% of people in a care home have hearing loss – and that this will increase to 80% by 2032. Unaddressed, this can lead to social isolation and an increased risk of other health problems, such as depression and dementia. There is solid that hearing aids can reduce these risks, but the problem is that too many older people are waiting far too long to get their hearing tested or face barriers seeking help because of other conditions. People who are deaf who use British Sign Language (BSL) may be at risk of loneliness and loss of cultural identity if they are unable to communicate in a meaningful way in BSL with care staff or other people in their care home.
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