Aged ones experience a number of changes in the way their body system and organs function. One of such changes is hearing loss, which is also known as presbycusis. Age-related hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that gradually occurs in both ears due to changes in the auditory nerve and inner ear as we grow older. It takes place gradually, hence most people don’t realize that their hearing ability is being lost. While this type of hearing loss is not a life-threatening condition, if left untreated, it could compromise the quality of life.
CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS IN ELDERLY
Causes of hearing loss in the elderly include the following
- Damage to any part of the ear (inner, middle, or outer)
- Changes in the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain
- Long-term exposure to loud noises
- Injuries to or around the head
- Health conditions such as hypertension
- Wrong prescription of drug
(some medicines can contribute to any type of hearing loss)
SIGNS AND SYMTOMS OF HEARING LOSS
The following are signs of hearing loss in elerly,
- Difficulty understanding and following a doctor’s advice
- Certain sounds seeming unbearably loud
- Difficulty hearing in noisy areas
- Poor response to warnings. Such as sirens and smoke alarms.
- Difficulty understanding speech on TV or radio
- Loss of interest in chatting with family and friends. This may lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
EFFECTS ON ELDERLY
- Feelings of being awkward, or abnormal
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Lack of participation in activities of daily living
- A feeling of incompetent or worthlessness
HOW TO HELP ELDERS WITH HEARING LOSS
- Eliminate unnecessary background noise
- Speak out loud and clear when speaking to them. Do not yell, please
- Use hands and facial expressions when you speak
- Speak at a normal speed, not too quickly or too slowly
- Lip reading or speech reading. There are trainers who train on how to lip read or speech read.
- Consult an otolaryngologist, or a hearing aid specialist.
- Your specialist may prescribe some hearing devices. Such as
- Hearing aid
- Cochlear implants
- Assistive listening devices e.g cell phone amplifying device
We can prevent age-related hearing loss by taking the following steps:
- Avoid frequent exposure to loud sounds.
- Always wear an ear protection device in places with loud sounds.
- Practice regular medical checkups to ensure you have no underlying condition.
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