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Hearing Problems and Watching Your Seniors Ears

Does it seem like mom is not picking up on the details anymore? You told her last week about the birthday you are planning for your oldest son, but she acts surprised to hear about it this week. 

She could be pretending to follow conversations that she can’t actually hear. Many hard-of-hearing seniors become quite adept at faking it. They know to smile pleasantly and nod while you relay your news. 

Where this becomes really dangerous is at the doctor’s office. Not knowing that you’ve just been diagnosed with a urinary tract disorder can result in hospitalization, possible kidney infection, and even possible death.  

It’s important to notice and take action when an older person you care about develops signs of hearing impairment. In most cases, hearing loss can be improved. Hearing loss can sometimes be as simple as a build-up of ear wax. 


Ear wax poses a threat to the well-being of seniors

All healthy ears produce a substance called cerumen. In healthy ears, this substance helps keep the ear canal open and taking in all the auditory cues from the individual’s environment. Unfortunately, cerumen binds to dust and other debris at which point it causes blockages.  

Ear wax does build up faster and more problematically in people over 65, according to experts in elder care. Ear wax can generally be removed at home with drops of carbamide peroxide. These drops are left in the ear for a few minutes where they soften the cerumen. Then a water-filled syringe can flush out the greasy build up.  

Unfortunately, as people age, they may find this process difficult if they have arthritis or loss of vision. Home care professionals can often help seniors clean their ears. These home care experts also observe signs of hearing loss and suggest evaluation by an otolaryngologist (ear doctor).   

If wax build up becomes too difficult to handle at home, there are hearing specialists who will gladly remove it in an outpatient setting.  


Other causes of hearing loss 

Elder care experts tell us that hearing loss can also be caused by damage to an auditory nerve or damage to the tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear, called stereocilia. Nerve deafness can be caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises, but heredity also plays a part as do serious infections. Some medications can cause nerve deafness. And, of course, direct injury to the ear, from a blow to the head or a fall, can also cause hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is permanent and can usually only be remediated with hearing aids. 

A ruptured eardrum can also cause hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be corrected with a patch or surgery.  

In conclusion, hearing loss in seniors can go undetected for far too long. Because of the stigma attached to hearing loss, some seniors will fake an ability to hear. Adult children of seniors need to notice the signs of hearing loss and get diagnosis and treatment for their loved one.  

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in East Hamptons, NY please contact the caring staff at Karing Hearts Agency Corp. today(631)366-KARE(5273) 



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