Amelia’s hearing had always been good. In fact, her adult children sometimes joked that it was her superpower. In the past, they couldn’t so much as whisper to one another without her knowing exactly what they were talking about. Recently, though, Amelia seemed to be having trouble following conversations and her family often had to repeat themselves to be heard. When they asked 74-year-old Amelia if she was having hearing problems, she said her ears had been ringing a lot lately. She thought her ears might be plugged with wax or the ringing might be caused by sinus pressure. But, when it didn’t go away, her daughter convinced her to see a doctor. Amelia was surprised to learn she had tinnitus.
If Amelia’s problem sounds familiar, it’s possible your aging relative could have tinnitus, too. Knowing more about the condition may help you to determine if it’s time for them to see a doctor.
What is Tinnitus?
According to the Mayo Clinic, tinnitus affects one out of every five people. It’s not really a condition. Instead, it’s typically a symptom of a condition, like age-related hearing loss. It causes the person to hear ringing or some other kind of noise without an obvious source. It’s not considered a sign of a serious problem, but it can be troublesome. However, it is possible to treat tinnitus and lessen the noise. Or, doctors may be able to treat the condition that causes tinnitus.
There are two kinds of tinnitus:
- Subjective Tinnitus: This kind of tinnitus is only heard by the person who has tinnitus. It’s the kind of tinnitus that happens most often. Subjective tinnitus can be caused by problems with any part of the ear, the auditory nerves, or the part of the brain that perceives sound.
- Objective Tinnitus: Objective tinnitus can be heard by a doctor during an examination. It’s a rare kind of tinnitus caused by trouble with blood vessels, bones in the middle ear, or contracting muscles.
What Are the Symptoms of Tinnitus?
Most people associate tinnitus with a ringing in the ears, but there are several other sounds someone with tinnitus might hear, such as:
If your aging relative is experiencing tinnitus symptoms that are bothersome, they should see a doctor. Treatments can reduce the symptoms or mask them, so they aren’t as noticeable.
Senior care can assist older adults who have tinnitus. A senior care provider can remind them to take medications the doctor prescribes to treat underlying conditions. Senior care providers can also help visitors to better communicate with your aging relative if they have hearing loss. Senior care providers can ask visitors to sit facing the older adult so that sound is directed at them and the person can see their lips, which may help them determine what is being said.
If you or an aging family member are considering professional senior care in Garden City, NY, please call the caring staff at A Gentle Touch Senior Home and Health Care at 631-647-7622 today.