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Turn it down!

May 5, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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While I was doing research online, I followed a link offering suggestions about finding the right nursing home. A major consideration when looking at facilities is the noise level in semi-private rooms, according to a snippet I read. When one roommate is playing music loudly and the other is watching TV at equal volume, it creates quite a cacophony of sound.

At this facility a few residents play their music and TVs too loud. They are not always asked to lower the volume. One hypersensitive resident becomes upset when TVs and radios are too loud. Then he screams, "Turn it down!" I have to admit, I do not want to incur his wrath, but some residents do not seem to care.

Residents have the right to watch TV or listen to music, of course. But I also think we need to respect the rights of our roommates and facility neighbors.

A few days ago, the facility gave my roommate a small TV. She likes to listen to music, watch cartoons and Christian programming. While she tries to keep the volume down, it is still difficult for me because my voice-activation software does not like extraneous noise. I have suggested that she needs a wireless headset. However, she does not want to use a headset and has no means to purchase one anyway.

My roommate and I are from different generations. She is 40 and I am 65. When I was her age I listened to light rock music, but I kept the volume down out of respect for my neighbors.

I have always believed that wireless headsets would be a simple way to solve the noise problem. They are reasonably priced and could allow each resident to be entertained without disturbing others. Wireless headsets could cut down on facility noise. But funding would be needed to purchase and replace them. Above all, residents would have to be willing to use them.

I use wired headsets for my cell phone and voice activation software on my desktop PC and laptop. They work well and allow me to keep the noise down. Everything I do is personal to me. I prefer to be able to enjoy entertainment, reading, or music without bothering my roommate or those around me.

A few residents here have MP3 players. They sport ear buds while listening to their tunes. Sometimes the aides have to physically touch them to get their attention. To me there is not much difference between wearing ear buds while listening to music and wearing a headset. Either option makes a semi-private room more peaceful.



Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...