Senior Care Blog


Coping with Elderly Hearing Loss
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Maria Lopez, Administrator for All Valley Senior Home Care in Brawley, California shares her personal story about coping with her husband’s hearing problems, which were caused from loud explosions while in the Army.  As a VIDA Certified Home Care Agency administrator, Maria is able to use her personal experiences to help the families of her home care clients.

*The following content is being provided for your information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

My husband often complained that he was frustrated because people would talk too softly.  We were always repeating what we were saying several times until he understood us. It was very frustrating for him but also for me having to cope with this over and over on a daily bases.
First I had to educate myself about hearing problems and understand the problems my husband was going through. This has enabled me to help him and others in this same situation.

I found there are two common hearing problems:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Ringing of the Ears (Tinnitus)

Millions of people cope with hearing loss.  The most common causes are:

  • Noises – The noises you are exposed to at work, at play or even during common
  • Age – Changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older gradual but steady hearing loss.
  • Other causes – An injury to the ear or head. Ear infections and ear wax buildup can cause hearing loss.

Some common medications can affect a person’s hearing such as an aspirin, Ibuprofen and some antibiotics.

Assisting Someone with Hearing Loss

  • Try to speak to the person at a distance of 3 to 6 feet making sure that your face and mouth and gestures can be seen clearly.
  • Arrange furniture so everyone can see everyone else’s face.
  • Don’t speak directly into a person’s ear because the visual clue will be missed.
  • Speak slowly and don’t shout but speak slightly above normal.
  • Try to cut down on the background noise by turning down the television or radio.
  • When eating out in Restaurants ask for quiet seating sections.
  • If there is a certain word or phrase that is not understood try to find another way of saying it, instead of repeating the same words over and over.
  • Treat the hearing-impaired person with respect. Include them in discussions, especially when it’s about them so they don’t feel isolated and become depressed.
  • If you change the subject of the conversation, tell them, “We are now talking about _____.”

Ringing in the Ears

Most people have ringing, roaring, hissing, or buzzing in their ear from time to time this usually last only a few minutes. If it doesn’t go away or it happens often they might have a problem called Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is usually caused from being around too much loud noise. It can also have other causes like ear infections, dental problems, and medicines, especially antibiotics or large amounts of aspirin. Consuming large amounts of alcohol or caffeine can also add to the problem.

Things You Can Do at Home to Help

  • Cutback on alcohol and caffeine.
  • Limit the use of aspirin, ibuprofen, (advil, motrin) and naproxen, (aleve)
  • Have ear wax removed safely.

Protecting your hearing,

  • Avoid harmful noise. For example: machinery, guns, snowmobiles, motorcycles, lawnmowers, power tools, and loud music.
  • Use hearing protection such as earplugs when around harmful noises.
  • Control the volume of noise when you can and use quieter appliances when possible. Turn down the stereo, television, and car radio or music player.
  • Never use cotton swabs, hairpins, or other objects to remove ear wax. They can scratch or damage your ears.
  • Ask your pharmacist if any of the medication you take can or will affect your hearing.
  • When traveling by air, swallow and yawn a lot. If you have a cold, or flu, or possibly a sinus infection take a decongestant or use a decongestant nose spray a few hours before the plane lands.
  • Control diseases that affect your circulation, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Some hearing loss may be the result of decreased blood flow to the inner ear.

Hearing loss due to aging usually occurs so gradually that many people may not even know if it has happened. It’s important to find out if you have a hearing loss no matter what caused it.

Simple Hearing Tests

The Radio Test:

  • Have someone adjust the volume on the radio or television so it is pleasing to that person. See, if you can hear it well, or do you have to strain to hear it?

The Telephone Test:

  • When talking on the phone switch the phone from ear to ear to hear if the sound is the same. Hearing loss related to aging usually affects both ears. But it is possible for only one ear to be affected.

Reasons to See a Health Care Provider

  • If your hearing loss develops suddenly.
  • If your hearing loss is in one ear only.
  • If you develop a hearing problem while taking medication.
  • Hearing loss develops with vertigo.
  • You think your hearing is slowly getting worse.
  • If you wonder if you might need a hearing aid

If you would like assistance or information you can always call us at 1-866-273-2995, visit our Senior Home Care Agency Directory, or fill out this simple online formGet Help Now!

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October 6th, 2009 | Posted by:

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