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Elderly Hearing: Can It Be Preserved?

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on

Many older adults show some hearing loss, but in most cases it can be minimized. One of the main keys to retaining hearing is taking a few preventive measures. The Vancouver hourly care experts at Home Care Assistance have a few suggestions to help your senior loved one preserve his or her hearing abilities.

Avoid Loud Noise

Loud noise can cause hearing loss by destroying inner ear cells that send sound to the auditory nerve. The noise can be continual, such as from music or power tools, or sudden like an explosion. Loud noise can also cause tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, which interferes with hearing. Encourage your loved one to wear ear protection when using machinery, going to a concert, or participating in any other noisy activity. Ear protection can reduce sound by 15 to 30 decibels. 

Clear Out Earwax

Earwax buildup can sometimes be prevented by using over-the-counter earwax softener. Otherwise, your loved one can try removing it with a home irrigation kit. If the wax buildup becomes problematic, your loved one can go to the doctor to get it removed. Your loved one should avoid using cotton swabs because they can push the wax in deeper and cause an infection. 

Consider Changing Medications

Some medications are ototoxic, or damaging to the ears. Ibuprofen, naproxen, diuretics such as furosemide and bumetanide, and antibiotics such as streptomycin and gentamicin can cause hearing loss. Ask the doctor if your loved one’s medications are ototoxic, and if there are any alternatives.

Quit Smoking

A 1998 study published in JAMA found smokers are more likely to have hearing loss. Nicotine shrinks blood vessels and reduces the amount of oxygen that goes to the inner ear, which damages cells that send sound to the auditory nerve. The longer your loved one smokes, the more damage can be done, but giving up smoking can help him or her preserve hearing.

The ability to hear is crucial for seniors for a variety of reasons. For instance, it can help them remain socially connected to family and friends, which promotes emotional wellbeing. If hearing loss has made it more challenging for your loved one to stay socially engaged and perform certain daily activities, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can provide companionship, transportation, medication reminders, and assistance with many other important tasks. For more information on in-home care Vancouver families trust, call one of our experienced Case Managers at 778-279-3634 to schedule a free in-home consultation.