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Top 6 Ways to Prevent Hearing Loss in the Elderly

By Marius Butas, 9:00 am on

As adults get older, they may find themselves increasing the volume on TV remotes and other electronic devices. They may also have difficulty hearing people speak in a normal volume during a conversation and ask others to speak louder. As people age, the tiny hair cells contained within the inner ears deteriorate. When these cells die or malfunction, ears can no longer efficiently detect frequencies, vibrations, and sounds. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Mesa families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Although some seniors may experience slight hearing loss, there are ways to protect hearing to prevent further damage. 

1. Avoid Loud Noise

If a noise is loud enough to cause two people to shout at each other just to hear one another, it has the potential to damage hearing. Minimize your loved one’s chances of being in these situations for prolonged periods. Examples of harmful noises include lawn mowers, power tools, certain kitchen appliances, stereo speakers, and motorcycles or other vehicles with little or no muffling. 

2. Consider Ear Plugs

At work or when performing household chores, sometimes it is inevitable for older adults to be around loud noise. However, hearing protection decreases the likelihood of internal ear damage. Simple ear plugs, earmuffs, and headphones are readily available and reduce noise anywhere from 15 to 30 decibels. Seniors can gain greater benefits by wearing earplugs and earmuffs together. 

3. Quit Smoking

Smokers are 70 percent more likely to experience hearing loss. The carbon monoxide and nicotine in tobacco products constrict blood vessels, which deprives cochlear hair cells of much-needed oxygen. Nicotine also interferes with the neurotransmitters released in the auditory nerve, which interferes with brain communication. Smoking also encourages the release of free radicals, which hasten the aging process and damage hair cells and tissues in the ears.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in home care. Mesa seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

4. Remove Ear Wax Properly

Ear wax may build up and muffle sounds. Although using cotton swabs remains a common way to clean ears, the act can push wax deeper into the ear. Irrigation kits soften ear wax and gently flush the substance from the ears. Kits are available for home use, or earwax removal can be done in a physician’s office. 

5. Evaluate Medications

Approximately 200 medications list hearing loss as a possible adverse side effect. The long list of medications includes certain antibiotics and cancer-fighting formulations. Common aspirin has the potential for causing hearing damage if taken in high enough doses. If your loved one complains of hearing difficulty or you notice the problem, review his or her medications with a physician. 

6. Get a Hearing Test

A hearing test is warranted if your loved one has difficulty hearing normal speech, experiences ringing in one or both ears, is frequently around loud noises, or has a family history of hearing loss. If the test presents less than adequate results, your loved one may need further evaluation to find the cause and possibly receive treatment.

Seniors with hearing loss are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who do not have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. For trusted Mesa Alzheimer’s care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. To learn more about our revolutionary Alzheimer’s care, give us a call today at (480) 699-4899.