It is fairly common for seniors to experience changes in their hearing abilities with age. These changes can result from exposure to loud noises, the use of specific medications, and poor self-care. However, there are a few ways older adults can maintain their health and prevent severe hearing loss.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Palm Beach Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Following are seven simple tips for protecting hearing in the golden years.
1. Limit the Use of Ototoxic Medications
Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications are toxic to the auditory system. In addition to increasing the likelihood of hearing loss, these drugs can also cause tinnitus. These drugs are classified as ototoxic medications, and they include various antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, loop diuretics, and even high doses of aspirin. Identifying ototoxic medications and then limiting their intake is often essential for preventing hearing loss.
2. Recognize and Report the Signs of Ototoxicity
Given the vast range of ototoxic medications, it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to recognize and report signs of ototoxicity immediately. This will allow the doctors to recommend alternate medications that pose a lower risk of hearing loss. Some of the most common signs of ototoxicity include tinnitus (ringing in the ears), intensified tinnitus, pressure in the ears without the symptoms of infection, and vertigo.
3. Protect the Ears When Exposed to Loud Sounds
Many older adults enjoy listening to live music. However, seniors should avoid sitting too close to the sound system when attending concerts or other music events. Elderly people should also use earplugs or other muting devices to prevent hearing loss from excessive exposure to loud music.
4. Use Headphones Instead of Earbuds
Noise exposure is one of the most common and preventable causes of hearing loss. Many headphone manufacturers have special noise-cancelling devices that people can use for listening to movies, music, and other digital content without harming their ears. These units do not exceed a specific volume level and are not inserted directly into the ear. As a result, there is very little risk of damaging the auditory system when using them.
5. Schedule Regular Ear Exams
Seniors should have their ears examined at least once or twice each year. Mild hearing loss may cause aging adults to listen to music and television at high volume levels, which could exacerbate their hearing issues. Doctors often recommend hearing aids and other assistive devices that can boost ear health.
Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Palm Beach families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
6. Turn Down the Radio in the Car
Even listening to the car radio too loudly can have a negative impact on a senior’s hearing. Loud sounds in small, confined spaces are greatly amplified. Aging adults and their caregivers should keep the volume levels for in-car speaker systems at moderate levels.
7. Recognize the Signs of Infection
Not all ear infections cause high fevers and intense pain. Persistent runny noses, pressure in the head, and balance issues are all possible signs of serious inner ear infections. Having the ears checked whenever these symptoms arise can prevent ruptured eardrums and significant hearing loss.
In some cases, hearing loss may indicate the onset of cognitive decline in seniors. According to a report on WebMD, moderate hearing impairment may develop into Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one’s hearing ability becomes impaired, consult his or her doctor about the possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease and consider hiring a professional caregiver. In Palm Beach, FL, Alzheimer’s home care experts are trained in methods that are designed to slow cognitive decline in the elderly. Using a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, Alzheimer’s caregivers keep seniors mentally engaged with exciting activities so they can maintain better cognitive health in the golden years. To hire a dedicated caregiver for your senior loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 561.429.8292 today.