Senior Caregivers | July 13, 2016
47% of Canadians over the age of 60 suffer from hearing loss, ranging from the inability to hear certain voices to deafness.
Dealing with a senior or elderly loved one with hearing loss can be maddening, especially if the senior is in denial about their hearing loss. While loss of hearing is a common aliment that comes with aging, many caregivers and seniors need assistance in recognizing, diagnosing and seeking treatment for hearing loss.
Presbycusis is a gradual loss of hearing that may come with age. It can be caused by changes in the inner ear, auditory nerve, middle ear, or outer ear. It can also be caused by loud noise exposure, heredity, head injury, infection, illness, some prescription drugs, and circulation problems, including high blood pressure.
Tinnitus, which is also common in seniors, causes a ringing, hissing, or roaring sound in the ears. It can be the result of exposure to loud noise or certain medicines, and can accompany any type of hearing loss.
If a senior has not been diagnosed with hearing loss, but it is obvious that it is present, referral to a specialist may be necessary. Start with a visit to his or her regular doctor. The doctor may then refer the senior to an otolaryngologist, a physician who specializes in ear, nose, and throat – or an audiologist, who is a health professional who conducts tests to define hearing loss. Sometimes the two work together in an office.
A senior with hearing loss may struggle with hearing alarms or telephones, or understanding speech on TV or radio; may be unaware that someone is talking or whispering; and may have a lack of understanding when talking on the phone, if several people are in a large room or many people are talking, or when a speaker’s face can’t be seen.
Seniors with hearing loss may suffer negative psychological and emotional effects that can affect them socially. Here are some examples of what they may experience:
A hearing aid may help. It won’t restore normal hearing, but it will increase awareness of sounds through magnification of sound vibrations. Larger vibrations are changed to signals sent to the brain, but there are limits to amplification, and inner ear damage can mean that even large vibrations can’t be translated into signals. A doctor or a specialist can determine if a hearing aid will be helpful.
Need in-home care? Call Comfort Keepers® today! Comfort Keepers®’ trained caregivers help provide senior clients with the highest quality of life possible to keep them happy and healthy at home. Our Interactive Caregiving™ provides a system of care that addresses safety, nutrition, mind, body, and activities of daily living (ADLs).
For additional information on Comfort Keepers of Canada® at Toronto or any other Comfort Keepers of Canada® location please visit our home page or call us at 416-663-2930.