It comes as no surprise to anyone that as people age, their bodies change. But, did you know that the ears change, too? Changes in the ear coupled with the way the brain processes sound as a person ages can result in age related hearing loss. One of the changes that happens in the ear is that ear wax gets stickier and drier so that there is a greater risk of the wax becoming impacted. Another change involves the cochlea, which may lose some of its sensory cells or experience degeneration in the nerves that carry information about sounds to the brain. Finally, the eardrum may also become thicker.
Around 50 percent of people over the age of 75 have some loss of hearing. Hearing loss can make it hard for seniors to engage in conversation with others, understand information provided by doctors, respond to emergency alarms, and use the telephone. If you are concerned that your parent may have hearing loss, knowing more about the types of hearing loss may help you to better understand a doctor’s diagnosis and what steps to take next.
Types of Hearing Loss
Age related hearing loss usually occurs in both ears and happens gradually, sometimes making it hard for seniors to accept or realize that they have hearing loss. There are two main kinds of hearing loss that seniors commonly experience. They are:
- Sensorineural: Sensorineural hearing loss is the most frequently experienced type of hearing loss for seniors. Its main cause is age, but it may also occur because of exposure to loud noises or as a side effect of certain medications. Sensorineural hearing loss is the result of damage to the nerve cells or hair cells in the cochlea.
- Conductive: When a person has conductive hearing loss, sounds may seem muffled. Causes of conductive hearing loss are excess ear wax, a hole in the eardrum, arthritis in the bones of the ear, fluid collecting in the middle ear, and infections in the lining of the ear canal.
It is also possible for people to experience mixed hearing loss in which they have both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
How Home Care Can Help
If your parent is diagnosed with hearing loss, hiring a home care provider can help your parent to handle some of the things that are difficult with hearing loss. A home care provider can answer telephone calls, attend appointments with your parent to catch information they may not hear, and help them to learn strategies for living with hearing loss. For example, a home care provider can work with your parent to learn watch people’s mouths when they are talking, which may make it easier to understand what is being said. A home care provider can also remind your parent to wear their hearing aid in the early days when it is easy to forget the new device.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Moorestown, NJ, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care Services today. Call (856) 234-8700 for more information.
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