Hearing loss is a frustrating problem, especially when experienced at an old age. The common cause includes diseases, noise, or aging. There are numerous issues caused by the loss. For instance, not being able to hold conversations with other people. Additional concerns include not being responsive to warnings, alarms, or doorbells.
Statistics indicate that one in three people have a hearing problem. The challenge is that most people do not admit, and that is why it is essential to take good care of the elderly as it will offer them comfort. It helps by preventing them from feeling depressed and frustrated hence withdrawing from others.
Hearing problems can make the elderly seem unresponsive and confused when they are not in real sense. You do not need to ignore the problem, have it treated on time to avoid issues such as dementia. There are numerous treatments, such as special training, medication, hearing aids, and surgery; this is important for cognitive health.
Hearing Loss Symptoms
Identifying a hearing problem can be challenging. Below signs will help pinpoint a problem.
- You will have trouble hearing over the telephone
- It becomes difficult following a conversation with two or more people or asking them to repeat.
- When listening to the TV, you have to put the volume up
- You think people are mumbling when talking to you
Types of Hearing Loss
Types of hearing loss vary; they can be mild loss to total loss. The two main categories include:
Sensorineural hearing loss: It happens when the inner ear or auditory nerve is damaged, and it leads to permanent loss.
Conductive hearing loss: It mainly happens when sound waves cannot reach the inner part of the ear. The leading cause for this loss is a buildup of earwax, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. The best way to restore hearing loss is through surgery or medical treatment.
Appropriate Devices to Help with the Hearing Loss
Medical experts will advise you to get a hearing aid. They are different types of rechargeable hearing aids, either electronic or battery-powered, to make sound louder. Before buying one, find out if your health insurance covers the cost. Ask the provider if you can have a trial period to know if the device fits and it’s right for you. Look for an audiologist to help with the hearing aid.
With modern technology, hearing loss has become a problem that can be managed. There are additional options like assistive-listening devices, mobile apps, cochlear implants, and other alerting devices.
Cochlear implants are electronic devices that help with severe hearing loss even though they do not work for all hearing loss types.
Alert systems mostly work for smoke detectors, doorbells, and alarm clocks that offer vibrations and visual signals. The flashing light is quite practical when someone rings the doorbell or the phone ringing.
Over-the-counter hearing aid: This type is used by people with mild or moderate hearing loss and can buy without a prescription. They offer a louder sound to help with hearing loss, to communicate, listen, and respond.
The Causes of Hearing Loss
- The number one cause of hearing loss is loud noise like snow blowers, lawnmowers, and loud music. It damages the inner ear, causing permanent hearing loss. The best solution is always minimizing the volume of your television or stereo. Move away from the loud noise or have earplugs for protection.
- When earwax builds up, it blocks the sounds in the inner ear. In case it is a problem, have an appointment with your doctor to give more advice. The doctor might suggest ways to soften the earwax using a mild treatment.
- A punctured eardrum is another cause of hearing loss. It can be attributed to an infection, pressure, or overuse of cotton-tipped swabs. It is advisable to see a doctor have the fluid drained.
- Different conditions can contribute to hearing loss at old age, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Other effects include stroke, a heart condition, tumour, or brain injury.
- Avoid some medications that can damage the inner ear. Consult your doctor before any medication.
Ways to Cope with Hearing Loss
- Do not be shy telling people about your hearing problem and ask them to speak louder and slower.
- Look at the facial expressions and gestures to understand more.
- Always look for a good location and listen to what is being said.
When you notice you have a hearing problem, seek professional help at the earliest. Besides, ask your family and friends for help, so that you do not feel alone.
Photo by Mark Paton
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