Birds singing. Children laughing. Your favorite song. There are infinite wonderful sounds to enjoy all around us, so it’s crucial to take care of the extraordinary gift of hearing. As we age, our capacity to hear clearly can change, but there are actions we can take to keep our ears as healthy as possible for many years and avoid hearing loss.
How Can Older Adults Avoid Hearing Loss?
Follow these steps to improve hearing for older loved ones:
- Schedule regular hearing tests. Just as you need annual physicals and eye exams, include having your hearing tested on a regular basis. This is often as simple as answering questions during a typical checkup with the primary care physician, followed by a hearing test and additional treatment if warranted.
- Keep ears free of excessive wax. As we grow older, the wax that protects our ear canal becomes drier and harder, which often can impair hearing. To prevent injury to the ear or to keep from pushing wax further into the ear canal, you shouldn’t place anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. The physician can properly clean out accumulated wax.
- Check meds. Some medications, such as loop diuretics, antibiotics, and chemotherapy, can cause temporary if not permanent tinnitus, hearing loss, or balance disorders. Furthermore, chronic conditions like heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, and others boost the risk for hearing loss. Consult with a doctor for additional information.
- Wear protection. Well before any hearing impairment is discovered, loud noises such as those at concerts, sporting events, or from noisy equipment like a lawn mower, can harm up to 50% of the hair cells within the inner ear. These hair cells are fundamental to our ability to hear, so protecting them is critical. Always use hearing protection in excessive noise situations.
What About Hearing Aids?
Hearing issues can frequently be helped with the usage of hearing aids, which have recently become available over the counter, making these devices much more affordable. Regardless if the hearing aids are obtained over the counter or not, it’s important to know how to take care of these devices so they can continue to provide the maximum benefit. Audiologist Viral Tejani of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine explains, “Hearing aids are essentially miniature electronics. Keep them protected from the elements such as rain and dust and keep them out of reach from prying hands of children or prying paws of dogs.”
The typical lifespan of hearing aids is five to seven years, though with proper upkeep and care, they can last as long as a decade or even more.
Home Health Care Can Help!
The home health care experts at Live Free Home Health Care are readily available to help older adults live their best possible lives, through services such as:
- Transportation to procedures and medical appointments, including hearing screenings
- Planning and preparing meals
- Medication reminders
- Grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, and running other errands as needed
- Personal care
- Light housekeeping
- And much more
Give us a call at 603-217-0149 for more information about the benefits of home health care for someone with hearing issues or any other condition requiring support to continue living safely and independently at home.