For many of us it does not seem unusual to see our elders with hearing aids. What seems unusual is when an aging individual refuses to get hearing aids and would rather repeatedly ask others to say what they said over and over again.
What they may not understand is the fact that our ears don’t only help us to hear, but help to maintain our sense of balance. When there is an issue with their ears, the resulting factor could potentially be the reason that elders fall.
The way that the sense of hearing happens is after sound vibrations cross the eardrum and enter the inner ear. The vibrations are transformed into nerve signals in the inner ear. Once that happens, the signals are carried to the brain by the auditory nerve.
Control for a person’s balance is referred to as their equilibrium. The equilibrium happens in the inner ear. Fluid and small hairs contained within the inner ear stimulate the auditory nerve and help to maintain balance.
As with everything else, aging changes the ear structure so their functionality begins to decline. This is when the ability for our clients to pick up sounds begins to decrease. It is also when an older person loses stability because their balance changes, not allowing them to securely sit, stand or walk properly.
When the ability to hear decline, it is called presbycusis. Hearing loss can affect both ears.
Sometimes a client is more apt to hear one person than another. This is ordinarily due to the fact that the frequency of one person’s voice is different than another person’s voice. Another change may be that an elder may have trouble telling certain sounds apart. It is also not uncommon for an elder individual to have issues hearing if there is a lot of background noise present.
Another hearing problem, called tinnitus, may occur. This is when persistent, abnormal ear noise is present. Tinnitus happens when there is a great deal of ear wax buildup; can also be due to medications are used that are harmful to the structures inside of the ear. This condition can be dealt with with the help of a healthcare professional.
Many times elders will be affected by impacted ear wax. The impact can cause hearing issues. Age is the factor so as we age, the impact gets worse. Thankfully healthcare professionals are able to remove the impacted wax.
This is just a very brief explanation about the loss of our sense of hearing. Hearing loss is one of the greatest losses of our senses. To understand completely, more research must be conducted because this explanation seems way too simplified, but it does give enough detail for caregivers to understand the basics and to be able to show their clients that With Age Comes Respect.