If your elderly family member is losing her hearing, there may still be something that you can help her to do about it. Quite a bit depends on what’s causing your senior’s hearing to diminish. Some causes might be reversible, but others are much more permanent. Always work with your senior’s doctor to determine if there are underlying causes affecting her.
Medication Side Effects
Medications solve so many health issues, but they all have side effects. There are certain medications that have a side effect called ototoxicity. This means that the medication is toxic or damaging to the ears in some way. Some ototoxic medications render mild hearing loss that is reversible, while others are more complex and can cause permanent hearing loss. Talk to your senior’s doctor about her medications and how they affect her.
Her Ear Canal Is Blocked
Ear wax, dust, and even debris can get caught up in your senior’s ear canal. Over time, ear wax can thicken and even harden, which makes it much more difficult for her ear to remove it on its own. Instead of trying to remove any blockages with a cotton swab or other tool, talk to your senior’s doctor. Her doctor can look into her ear, assess the blockage, and remove it safely.
Her Ear Bones Are Affected by Arthritis
Arthritis can happen anywhere there are bones and joints, including in the ear. Your senior’s inner ear is made up of tiny bones that, once arthritis affects them, don’t move the same way that they did before. As those bones move, they transmit information to the brain that your senior’s brain processes as sounds. When they’re not moving properly, your senior’s hearing is affected. Medications might help, but it depends on how bad the arthritis is.
Cognitive Changes Affect Hearing
The brain processes the information it gathers from your senior’s ears and turns that into what we think of as sound. If your senior is experiencing cognitive changes, that can also have a big effect on how her brain processes the sounds around her. Depending on the types of cognitive changes she’s experiencing, there may not be a way to work around what’s happening.
Hearing loss can make life more difficult than it has to be for your senior. Having some help from home health care providers can allow her to live a more normal life while also knowing that she’s safe and in good hands.