Hearing loss and the older adult
Posted by CENTURY HEARING
The importance of the hearing aids
There are a lot of factors that can lead to hearing loss. These factors can either be hereditary or caused by factors such as exposure to noise. The modern city life exposes us to a lot of loud noises. These can have an adverse effect on our hearing over time. Other factors such as aging and disease can lead to hearing loss. Other people have reported a hearing loss after some form of medication. According to information published on the NCBI website, radiation therapy can also lead to a sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be very embarrassing. It can lead to depression and difficulty in understanding. People with hearing loss problem are more prone to danger. This is because they may have problems with responding to warning signs early enough. Hearing aids have become the most reliable method of treating a hearing loss and helping people with hearing loss problem live a normal life.
While hearing loss can affect people of different ages, it can be more prevalent in older adults. As people get older, there is this tendency of losing some of their hearing abilities. There is no comprehensive research as to why this is so. However, we may be right to think that a lifetime of exposure to various levels of noise can affect hearing ability as people get older. Hearing loss is greatly noticeable more in adults from the ages of 65 and above. While a lot of adults fail to admit it, having a conversation with them will clearly point out the fact. It is very important to identify a hearing loss on time. A hearing problem that is neglected or untreated can grow worse over time.
The importance of hearing aid cannot be overemphasized. For those suffering from a hearing loss problem, hearing aids are a necessity and not a luxury. There is however some hearing loss that does not require a hearing aid. These kind of hearing loss are temporal and requires only treatment to correct. These include hearing loss as a result of earwax blockage. Growth in the inner ear can also result in temporal hearing loss.
There is a lot of hearing problem that cannot be treated. Therefore it is important to take precautions to help you maintain your hearing much longer. If you have already started noticing some hearing defects, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Major causes of hearing loss explained
Hearing loss caused by advancement in age. One of the most common causes of hearing loss is old age. From the ages of 65 to 74, some form of hearing defect is quite noticeable. It is also estimated that 1 in 5 people that fall within this age bracket suffer from one form of hearing loss or the other. The chances are even higher as the age bracket increases. Hearing declining with age is not something we have full knowledge of its causes. There can be a whole lot of factors leading to this. A lifetime of exposure to noise and genetics can also be factors of this.
The noise factor. Exposure to loud noise for a long time can have a negative effect on the hearing. According to information by the Centre for Disease Control, an estimated 22 million workers in America have to deal will harmful levels of noise at work daily. The list includes site workers, carpentry workshops, those in the field of mining, people in the military, farmers and other people working in heavy factories with a lot of machines. Musicians are also not left out of the list of vulnerable workers to noise damage. Music can be entertaining and we all enjoy good music when we hear one. This does not mean the noise is safe. In recent times, musicians wear protective earplugs when they perform. This is one way to protect the ear from damage caused by a loud noise when onstage.
Some forms of medication. There are a lot of medications out there that hearing loss is a clearly marked side effect on the label. There are hundreds of these drugs that have been proven to lead to hearing loss and affecting the body balance. These drugs are used for the treatment of various forms of diseases but at the huge cost of your hearing.
Some of these drugs fall among drugs we use more frequently while others are rare drugs. A list of these drugs fall within the following category:
- Antibiotics (not all).
- Diuretics (loop).
- Some of the drugs used in the treatment of malaria.
- Some of the drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Some of the uncommon drugs
- Some of the drugs used in chemotherapy.
The sudden hearing loss. This describes the sudden loss of hearing ability of up to 30decibels or more that can last for some hours or even last up to days. It is important to understand that a normal conversation is 60 decibels. The sudden hearing loss is mostly experienced on one ear at a time. There are a lot of new cases of sudden hearing loss. An estimate of three people in every ten thousand yearly. There is still no proven cause of why this happens.
Some ailments can cause hearing loss. There are quite a number of ailments can put the ear at risk. Conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure can affect the supply of blood to the ear. These can lead to hearing loss. The medical condition referred to as otosclerosis can alter your hearing ability. This disease affects the middle ear. It’s basically a bone disease of the middle ear. There is also the Meniere’s disease that is associated with the inner ear. These two can lead to hearing loss.
Hearing loss as a result of trauma. A punctured eardrum or cracked skull as a result of an accident can endanger the ear. This can lead to a severe hearing loss.
Ear wax blockage. There are times when ear wax dries up in the ear leading to blockage of the ear canals. This affects a person’s hearing ability. It is important to clean the ears properly to prevent the buildup of ear wax. For more information on the best way to clean the ear, visit an ENT unit. You can also visit a professional ear doctor working at a private clinic for professional advice.
Classification of hearing loss
There are a lot of cases where the hearing ability fades away unnoticeably. You may assume people are mumbling while they are actually speaking out very loud. You may be thinking the problem is from the poor quality of your phone. While it is difficult to notice these hearing losses on time is due to the fact that so long as you still hear something, most people assume their hearing is fine. This slowly continues until you completely become separated from conversations and surrounding sounds.
According to a doctor who is in charge of hearing, hearing loss can be classified according to their severity. The classification of hearing loss are as follows:
The mild hearing loss. For this kind of hearing loss, holding a one-on-one conversation will not be difficult. This is mostly in quiet places. However, it becomes more difficult in noisy environments or areas with a lot of noise interference. There are a lot of people with this hearing loss condition that are not even aware of it.
The moderate hearing loss. This is characterized by constant request for people to repeat their conversation before you can hear them. In this level of hearing loss, both one-on-one discussion and phone conversation is very difficult. Most people with an established hearing loss problem fall in this group.
The severe hearing loss problem. As the name implies, this is an advanced stage where conversation becomes very difficult. People suffering from severe hearing loss find it very difficult to follow a conversation without hearing assistance. This situation can be as disturbing as it sounds.
The profound or very severe hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss is more pronounced. People suffering from this kind of hearing loss can’t hear people speaking except when they are shouting. The only remedy for this kind of condition is a hearing aid or an implant.
Common signs of a hearing loss
There are quite a number of signs that can be a pointer to the fact that there is some problem with your hearing. At the early stage, it becomes more difficult to hear high-pitched sounds which include female and children voices. Sounds such as the “S” and “F” also become difficult to comprehend. There are also other pronounced signs that show you’re gradually losing your hearing ability. These signs include difficulty in understanding a conversation with a lot of people speaking all at once. When you turn the TV volume very high to a disturbing level then there might be something wrong with your hearing. When you notice that the people around you now “mumble” a lot instead of speaking out loud, then the problem might just be with your hearing ability. A frequent misunderstanding of peoples’ conversation and giving inappropriate answers can suggest you’re suffering from a hearing loss. Ringing in the ears can suggest a hearing loss problem. A number of people suffering from hearing loss experience ringing in the right ear. Others might experience a throbbing in the ear or hissing in the ear. These sounds are commonly called tinnitus. They are all signs of a hearing loss.
Treating the hearing loss
Hearing loss varies so does the treatment. There are quite a number of hearing loss problems that do not require a hearing aid. Seeking medical attention as early as possible can help you recover and get better. There are some forms of hearing loss that requires surgery to correct. Hearing loss from conditions such as otosclerosis infection and tissue scar can be treated with surgery. Meniere’s disease does not require surgery. All that is needed is good medication and change of diet to correct.
Antibiotics are a good treatment for a hearing loss as a result of ear infection. If you have noticed that your hearing loss started after a particular medication, endeavor to talk to your doctor about it for advice on what to do.
There are a number of people suffering from hearing loss can benefit from the positive impact of the hearing aid. Hearing aids are worn behind the ear or in the ear to help increase sound and make them easier to hear and understand. Adapting to the hearing aid can be difficult at first. It is therefore important to visit your audiologist to help you through the learning process.
There are other sounds enhancing technologies that are designed to further improve the performance of your hearing aid. The hearing aid has seen a lot of improvement in the face of ever-growing technology.
There is the personal listening system that helps you to tune in to whatever sound you desire to hear and turn off other sounds. There is also the TV system designed to transmit sounds directly to the hearing aid and into the ear. This prevents you from turning the volume of your television very high in order to hear. There are also a variety of mobile phone supported apps that are designed to improve hearing both one-on-one or on the phone. There is the speech to text translator that helps you read what the person on the phone is saying.
Cochlear implants remain the best option when it comes to the treatment of children and younger adult. However, today, older adults with very severe hearing loss also resort to a cochlear implant for the treatment of their hearing loss.
Coping with hearing loss
Hearing loss requires concentration when it comes to discussion. There are quite a number of people suffering from a hearing loss that depends on the lip movement to understand what people are saying. This is why you need to start by setting up your home. There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your home.
- Ensure you lit up your room properly. This will help you to see people’s faces and read their expressions very clearly. Focus on their mouth movement. This is one way to understand what they are saying.
- Get rid of anything that can cause background noise. Keep the television volume very low or even put them off when no one is watching.
- Ensure to inform people about your condition liaise with them on things they need to do to help your condition. Some of the few things they can do to help you in your condition include calling your attention before talking to you. They should ensure you can see their lips, encourage them to speak clearly and not shout.
Steps to care for your ear to help you hear a lot longer
There are a few things you can do to help you preserve your hearing a lot longer. Nobody wants to lose their hearing ability as they grow older. It is therefore important to take care of the ear while you still can.
Invest in quality ear plugs
Earplugs can help you prevent loud noises when in and around noisy environments. Places such as construction sites and factories are characterized by a lot of noise. Wear your earplugs in places with noise that are equal to or higher than the traffic sound. It is also advisable to use your earplugs when working with vacuums, lawn mowers, and power sanders. These sounds can cause harm to your ear if they are not protected. It is important to discuss with your employer if you work in a noisy environment about the safety of your ear.
Ensure that your employer adheres to stipulated standards about safety in a noisy working environment before picking up employment with them.
Move away from the source of noise
While earplugs are a useful investment, it is also advisable to move away from the source of the general. There are quite a number of people who are not comfortable with objects in their ear. Moving away from the source of the noise remains the best action to take.
For people living in noise prone areas like such as industrial layouts, close to major roads or next to a construction plant, you might consider moving out if you really love your ear. Find a more quiet and serene location with less noise.
Investing in hearing aids
It is important to get tested by an audiologist who will decide whether your hearing loss problem requires a hearing aid or just treatment to deal with. Hearing aids are very useful investments that can also come at a huge cost.
The good news is that, with OTC hearing aids passed into law, there are quite a number of hearing aids that you can acquire for just a fraction of the price. There are a number of reasons that can lead to settling down for a particular design of hearing aid. This includes cost, function, and even the design.
There are quite a number of people who will want to settle for a UNO hearing aid. This is due to the fact that these hearing aids are designed to adapt to your environment better than the other hearing aids. However, it is important to work with your audiologist to determine what is best for you.
There are quite a number of hearing aids to select from depending on preference and style. The most popular styles of the hearing aid are:
- The BTE hearing aid (Behind the Ear)
- The CIC hearing aid (Completely in Canal)
- The MIC hearing aid (Mini in Canal)
- The ITE hearing aids (In the Ear)
- The RIC hearing aids (Receiver in the canal)
Caring for the hearing aid
Do you want your hearing aid to last longer? Here are stop steps to ensure you enjoy your hearing aid much longer.
Keep the hearing aid away from moisture and store in a cool dry place. Moisture build-up can be very harmful to your hearing aids. There are quite a number of new hearing aids technology that is designed with water-resistant materials. However, it is important to ensure your device is kept dry and safe all the time. One way to keep the hearing aid dry and safe is by investing in dehumidifier with UV lights. This device will ensure that your hearing aids are dry and free from contaminants.
Replacing old hearing aid batteries as at when due is one way to ensure your hearing aid lasts longer. Leaving head batteries in the hearing aid for so long can lead to corrosion. This can cause severe damage to your hearing aid. It is also important to clean the battery compartment when changing your hearing aid batteries. When the hearing aid is not in use, you might want to remove the battery and leave the battery chamber open to let out trapped moisture.
Ensure that the device is kept free from ear wax. Clogging by earwax can reduce the performance of your hearing aids. Ensure to take your time to clean the hearing aid once in a while. Discuss with your audiologist on the best cleaning methods for your hearing aid.
When handling your hearing aid, do that with a great measure of care. The hearing aid is made up of tiny and vital parts that can be destroyed if they hit the hard floor.
Cleaning your device at home is good. It is also very important to schedule with your audiologist once in a while for a professional routine cleaning. The professional give it proper care. He also knows how to reach those parts you missed out on during cleaning. It is also the duty of the audiologist to make adjustments where necessary on the hearing aids.
Ensure to schedule a routine cleaning service with your audiologist within a period of 4 to six months of use.