Hearing is one of the bodily functions that slowly degenerate with age. There are a few different age-related hearing conditions an elderly care receiver could experience.
Also known more simply as age-related hearing loss, this is a gradual decline that starts from around the age of 60. It often starts off as an inability to hear high-pitched sounds such as a phone ringing or a microwave beeping. When the decline progresses, all sounds become hard to hear.
Consult a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. A doctor working with an audiologist can use techniques such as otoscope and audiogram to diagnose presbycusis and recommend the best course of action.
Ways to prevent or slow down presbycusis include
Possible ways to manage presbycusis include
Cerumen (known more commonly as earwax) is a waxy substance that cleanses and protects the ear canal in most circumstances. But in excess, it can accumulate and make it harder to hear.
Though some people attempt to remove their earwax themselves, this is not recommended, as this could cause situations in which the wax is simply pushed further into the ear, e.g. if cotton swabs are used to try to clear the ear.
Earwax removal is most safely done by a doctor using techniques such as irrigation with a syringe or manual removal using instruments. Wax-softening ear drops prescribed by doctors can also be effective.
Article reviewed by David Tay, Senior Principal Educator (Nursing and Prehospital Care), HMI Institute.