Your favorite song. Birds singing. Children laughing. There are many lovely sounds to enjoy all around us, so it’s critical to take care of the amazing gift of hearing. As we get older, our ability to hear clearly can change, but the following tips for healthy hearing can help make sure this important human sense is in tip-top shape for years to come.
How Can Older Adults Improve Hearing?
Adopt these tips for healthy hearing to increase hearing for older adults:
Schedule regular hearing tests. Just as you need annual physicals and eye exams, include getting your hearing checked on a routine basis. This could be as easy as giving answers to questions during a typical checkup with your doctor, followed by a hearing test and additional treatment if required.
Keep ears clear of excessive wax. As we grow older, the wax that offers protection to our ear canal becomes drier and harder, which often can reduce hearing. To prevent injury to the ear or to keep from moving wax deeper into the ear canal, you shouldn’t place anything smaller than your elbow into the ear. The physician can properly clean out excess wax.
Check meds. Some drugs, including antibiotics, chemotherapy, and loop diuretics, can cause short-term or even long-term hearing loss, balance disorders, or tinnitus. Additionally, chronic conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, and others raise the risk for hearing loss. Talk to a healthcare provider for more information.
Wear protection. Even before any hearing impairment is discovered, loud sounds like those at concerts, sporting events, or from noisy equipment like a lawn mower, can harm as much as 50% of the hair cells within the inner ear. These hair cells are key to our ability to hear, so protecting them is crucial. Always use hearing protection in excessive noise situations.
How About Hearing Aids?
Hearing deterioration can often be helped with 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 learn how to take care of these devices so that they can continue to provide the maximum benefit. Audiologist Viral Tejani of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine points out, “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 standard lifespan of hearing aids is five to seven years, although with proper upkeep and care, they can last as much as a decade or more.
In-Home Care Can Help!
- Transportation to procedures and medical appointments, such as hearing screenings
- Planning and preparing meals
- Medication reminders
- Food shopping, picking up prescriptions, and running other errands as required
- Personal care
- Companionship and conversation
- Light housekeeping
- And even more