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What Leads to Hearing Loss Later in the Senior Years?

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on May 23, 2016

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately one out of every three people 65 and older have some degree of hearing loss. Because hearing loss can make it more difficult for seniors to communicate and live a happy and healthy life, Phoenix at-home care experts want to share information on a few of the common causes and ways to help manage the condition.

Presbycusis

Presbycusis is sometimes referred to as age-related hearing loss. A senior with presbycusis may have trouble distinguishing certain sounds or be unable to tolerate loud noises. The condition usually develops gradually and can be caused by heredity, certain prescription medications, circulatory problems, and years of exposure to loud noises. Your elderly loved one should be cautious when taking medications that can affect hearing, and he or she should also work with the doctor to manage health conditions that can lead to hearing loss. Seniors with a family history of hearing loss should visit an audiologist regularly to monitor for any changes in hearing.

Tinnitus

A roaring or ringing in the ears is also known as tinnitus, which can lead to permanent damage in the sound-sensitive cells of the cochlea. The condition is often caused by medications and health conditions like allergies and blood vessel complications. There are medications that may make the tinnitus less noticeable, and music or white noise machines may also help mask the ringing. Seniors with tinnitus should also avoid loud noises, smoking, or alcohol because these can make the condition worse.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss occurs when something blocks the transmission of sound to the inner ear. A common cause of conductive hearing loss in the elderly is the buildup of earwax. Commercial ear drops, mineral oil, or glycerin can help soften the wax, and it can be easily removed by using a bulb syringe to flush the ear with water. Never use cotton swabs to clean your loved one’s ears because this can cause the wax to become impacted and harder to remove.

The following tips can help you communicate if your loved one has hearing loss:

  • Speak distinctly at a moderate volume, rather than shouting or speaking slowly
  • Turn off background noise like TVs or radios
  • Face your loved one when speaking so he or she can see your expressions

If your loved one is experiencing hearing loss and could use some extra help at home to remain safe and comfortable, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer flexible hourly and live-in care plans, and we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Phoenix families can trust. For more information, please call one of our qualified Care Managers at 602.388.1085 today.