Why Do Some Seniors Lose Their Hearing?

When it comes to senior health there are so many things that the elderly, their loved ones, and caretakers need be made aware of so they may be closely monitored. As we get older, the body can start to break down and the very fundamental aspects of daily life can show signs of failing.

Take hearing, for instance. Hearing loss is all too common among seniors and the reasons as to why can be wide-ranging. For some it’s the constant exposure to loud noises while for others hereditary factors can play a substantial role. Some diseases can contribute to a loss of hearing as well which can be exacerbated by the aging process.

The statistics for senior hearing loss are rather troubling with one third of older adults between the ages of 65 and 75 years exhibiting some form of decreased capability while more than half of those above the age of 75 demonstrate a significant loss in their hearing. These impacts can have a negative impact on quality of life that goes far beyond the usual inability to receive auditory signals correctly.

When seniors are having difficulty hearing they might not be able to fully understand their doctor or miss out on simple joys in life. There are elevated risks as warnings, alarms, phone calls, and other sounds you and I take for granted cannot be heard. In some cases, this could put seniors in dangerous situations.

Furthermore, an inability to hear can have an impact on their emotional and psychological health as well. Seniors may develop feelings of depression or they might refrain from socializing because of the embarrassment that comes with having trouble communicating with others.

Reduced capacity for hearing might also lead to seniors being mistakenly considered unresponsive, confused, or stubborn simply because they are not receiving normal auditory stimuli.

So why do some seniors lose their hearing while others have no problems whatsoever? Let’s take a closer look at this very real aspect of the aging process from your friends at Seniors Helping Seniors in-home care.

Loud Noises

This is among the most common causes that promote hearing loss in older adults. The problem is that these noises can come from just about anywhere. Environmental noise pollution from vehicles driving by, lawn mowers and snow blowers, nearby construction work, all of these things can play a role in causing serious permanent hearing damage.

It’s not just the environmental noises outdoors either as loud music or a blaring television can both be detrimental to seniors and their ability to hear. Turn down the stereo and TV and wear ear plugs if you go outdoors in areas where loud sounds are emanating.

Waxy Ears

Earwax buildup is another cause of hearing loss in the elderly simply due to the fact that something is wedged in the ear canal and it should be removed to improve the flow of air and sound towards the eardrum.

An earwax blockage is relatively easy to address as mineral oil, glycerin, or over the counter ear drops can all be useful in softening the wax and helping to dislodge it from the ear canal for easy removal.

Punctured Ear Drum

Since your ear drum is essential for good hearing, a perforated or partially missing one can greatly reduce your capability for hearing. Eardrums can become punctured for any number of reasons whether an ear infection has helped to erode it away or major pressure has damaged the soft membrane, even foreign objects pushed into the ear can be bad for you.

Many seniors will use a cotton swab to remove the aforementioned ear wax, but they all too often push too far and end up puncturing the ear drum by mistake. In these cases, ear pain or discharge are both potential symptoms that will alert you of a perforation in the ear drum.

Medications

This may sound strange but some medicines can have a permanent damaging impact on the inner ear. These types of drugs are referred to as “ototoxic” and they include a number of medication types such as those prescribed to treat cancer, heart disease, and some serious infections. There are also antibiotics on the market that could be considered ototoxic. Aspirin at certain dosages may also threaten to impact the hearing in senior citizens, who need to be careful about how much of the drug they may be taking.

These are just some of the reasons why seniors develop hearing issues and if you suspect that your senior is dealing with these concerns, have him or her checked out by a physician so that they may be properly diagnosed.

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