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A Guide to Seniors with Hearing Loss -What it is and What Causes it



John is a 68-year-old man with progressive sensorineural hearing loss—a very common type of hearing loss that causes the person to lose their hearing over time. This can be treated with a cochlear implant. John lived his life with normal hearing until he got older and started noticing that he had trouble hearing and understanding conversations. He went to an ENT specialist who fitted him with hearing aids. It worked for a few years until it wasn’t enough to help John’s hearing. John’s audiologist confirmed that his hearing was significantly declining and that he needed to visit an ENT specialist. When he went, he was told that he was an ideal candidate for a cochlear implant. After a month, he had the surgery and after two weeks, the implant was ready to be activated. Through the cochlear implant and listening rehabilitation programs, John slowly but surely regained his hearing.


Hearing Loss


Did you know that one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from hearing loss? It is characterized by not being able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing in one or both ears. This can cause difficulty in hearing conversations or loud sounds. It can range from mild, moderate, severe which is referred to as “Hard of Hearing” and profound which is deafness.


What are the Signs of Hearing Loss?

  • Difficulty hearing conversations with one person or multiple people

  • Often asked to repeat a question or sentence

  • Background noise makes hearing difficult

  • Thinking that others are mumbling when they’re not

  • Watching TV with the volume too high


What can Cause Hearing Loss?


There are multiple reasons why hearing loss happens. It can be caused by various things such as genetics, noise, age, or illness.


Ear Blockage


Ear blockage can be caused by earwax or fluid buildup that block sounds from entering the ear properly. If it is causing significant hearing loss, visit your doctor for treatments.


Loud Noises


Noise from everyday things can cause damage to a person’s inner ear which can result in permanent hearing loss. Loud noises can also cause tinnitus which is a sound that comes from inside the body; it is usually described as “ringing in the ears”. Avoid areas with loud noises and wear earplugs or other ear protection if necessary.


Health Conditions


Health conditions and issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, infections, tumors, stroke, heart conditions, or stroke can affect hearing and/or contribute to hearing loss.


Medication


Certain medications can affect a person’s hearing. These medications are called “ototoxic”. This means that the medication makes the person develop hearing and balance problems. These medications could be drugs that treat cancer, infections, diabetes, and other illnesses. If doctors detect ototoxicity early, they may be able to prevent it from worsening.


Heredity


Heredity and genetics can cause hearing loss but not all of them manifest at birth. There are hearing loss conditions that show later in life. These hereditary conditions can be Otosclerosis, Usher's syndrome, and Pendred syndrome.


Effects of Hearing Loss on Seniors


What are the effects of hearing loss on seniors’ well-being? Hearing loss can affect the elderly’s physical and mental wellness. Here are a few examples:


Problems with Balance


Research shows that there is a link between hearing loss and balance problems in seniors. This is a big issue because it increases the risk of falls and accidents.


Isolation and Loneliness


Seniors can feel shame, humiliation, and inadequacy due to their inability to hear and distinguish messages and its meaning. It could be embarrassing if a senior behaved and responded inappropriately in certain social interactions. This could lead to psychological solitary confinement, causing isolation and loneliness.


Identity Crisis and Reactive Depression


People with hearing loss early in their lives have adapted earlier and even incorporated it into their personalities. However, adults and seniors who experience hearing loss later struggle with this because the personality that they developed might not be compatible with their condition. This can cause an identity crisis and reactive depression.


Fear of Being Perceived Incorrectly


Just like other people with disabilities, seniors with hearing loss have the fear of being perceived as incompetent by peers, relationships, and their profession due to their inability to do certain tasks.


Dealing with disabilities such as hearing loss is undoubtedly difficult for anyone who has it, especially seniors who are also experiencing an age-related decline. This can significantly affect relationships and their quality of life. They will need to approach things in a slightly different way than they did before, and change is usually uncomfortable and hard.


Unified Pledge offers in-home senior care to provide the best care and service for every senior client. Hearing loss shouldn’t lower a senior’s quality of life and well-being, Unified Pledge has your back.


Unified Pledge Home Health provides a FREE consultation. Talk to them about your situation and explore you Hiring professionals from Unified Pledge comes with the following advantages:

  • Level II FBI background checks of all staff

  • Driving history checks

  • Constant communication to patients, family, and care team

  • Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan


Contact us today for a FREE consultation by a Supervisory Nurse at 561-800-4581.

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