One of the problems with the elderly is hearing loss. This is caused by the inner ear nerve gradually deteriorate with increasing age. Although deafness in the elderly is not as harmful to health as other serious illnesses. But it greatly affects the elderly daily life and there may be communication problems between caregivers and the elderly. As a result, the elderly misunderstand about taking drugs or taking care of themselves and adversely affect the existing underlying disease or the elderly may withdraw themselves from society due to a lack of confidence until the state of stress and finally depression.
Causes of deafness in the elderly
Caused by the auditory nerves and hair cells in the inner ear deteriorate with age. The basal hair cells of the cochlea begin to deteriorate first. As a result, when you get older you will not hear the high-frequency range. Then the decline will gradually spread to the middle-frequency range which is the level of speech. Therefore making the elderly begin to listen unclear By starting to show symptoms around age 60 years and over. In addition, chronic disease and taking certain drugs may cause hearing loss, such as diabetes, high blood pressure. High blood fat, etc. In some cases, if the deafness is ignored, it may increase to severe deafness.
What level of symptoms can be called deafness?
Deafness is a condition in which the ability to hear is decreased. Which has the severity of hearing loss as follows:
- Hear talk at a level of 0-25 decibels: Normal.
- Can’t hear a whisper Have a hearing level of 26-40 decibels: Less deafness.
- Can’t hear speaking at a normal level The sound level is increased to 41-55 decibels: Moderate hearing loss.
- Can’t hear even those trying to speak loudly. Must use a loud sound level 56-70 decibels: Very deafening.
- When shouting, they still cannot hear. With a sound level of 71-90 decibels: Severe hearing loss.
- If you have to use a noise greater than 91 decibels or more: Completely deaf.
Diagnosis of deafness in the elderly.
- See a doctor for a physical examination With history taking Check the symptoms and initial hearing conditions.
- examine the ears thoroughly Since the outer ear, inner ear, eardrum, some cases may have a neurological examination and cranial nerves.
- Special tests such as an audiogram to assess the degree of hearing loss.
When should the elderly have a hearing exam?
- Often asks the interlocutor to repeat many times.
- Watching the television sound louder than usual.
- Can’t hear clearly, some words are missing, can’t hear the whole sentence.
- There is a noise in the ears.
- Speak louder than usual.
Preventing and delaying deafness.
- Avoid listening to loud noises
- Do not put foreign objects into the ears. Except drugs prescribed by doctors only
- If you feel pain in your ear or flow out of your ear Consult a doctor immediately
- Eat nutritious foods and exercise. To prevent the development of diseases such as blood pressure which can cause hearing loss.
Communicating with the elderly with hearing loss.
- Speak in a clear voice But no need to yell
- Speak in short, concise sentences
- Speaking in front of people with hearing loss
- Do not wear masks or other things that make the audience unable to see the mouth shape.
- Should speak with minimal background noise such as television sound.
Since there is currently no drug for the degeneration of the auditory nerve system. Therefore, in the event that deafness in the elderly affects daily life Your doctor may consider wearing hearing aids. Which helps to act as a louder sound amplifier by putting it in the ear canal. Can be removed for storage. In the case of severe hearing loss or deafness, Your doctor may consider a cochlear implant in the spiral bone in the inner ear.
If you have recently begun to have deafness due to age-related hearing loss The elderly should be careful and take care not to cause more hearing loss. With regular medical visits to check hearing levels. It should also avoid loud noise and try to control the chronic disease that is a risk factor. Also, you should not buy ear drops for your own use without consulting a doctor. Should exercise regularly Eat five whole food groups, get enough rest, and clear your mind.
- When it was found that the elderly had a hearing loss, some words were missing and could not hear the complete sentence. Ringing in the ears. Often asked the interlocutor to repeat many times, watching television at a higher volume than usual. Speak louder than usual. Should come to the doctor to check the hearing.
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure. High blood lipids and taking certain medications can cause cochlear deterioration faster.
- There is currently no drug to treat the degeneration of the auditory nerve system. If deafness in the elderly affects daily life may wear a hearing aid In the case of severe hearing loss or deafness, The doctor may operate the cochlear implant.