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Great Myths of Aging by Lenore T. Szuchman, Joan T. Erber

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1THE BODY

“Speak up! I can't hear you!”

Sometimes it does seem as if older people are all hard of hearing. When people can't hear, they may ask to have things repeated a lot or they may tune out and become uninvolved in conversation. Younger relatives end up shouting to try to make themselves heard, and they can lose patience when the older people won't try hearing aids. Younger people may overreact to the stereotype of the hard-of-hearing older person by “talking down” to all older people. In one survey of 84 people over age 60, 39% reported that they had been patronized or talked down to at least once (Palmore, 2001).

It is true that certain types of hearing loss are typically part of the “normal” aging process, but shouting is not usually the solution. It is also true that there are barriers for some people to ...

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