Approximately 30 to 40 percent of older adults experience tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing, buzzing, clicking, or other loud and persistent noises within the ear canal. Seniors are at an increased risk for developing the condition due to the deterioration of the inside of the ear as a direct result of the aging process. For many seniors with tinnitus, the noise is constant, but for others, it comes and goes. While it’s not a life-threatening condition, tinnitus does often have a serious effect on seniors and their overall wellbeing. Here are some of the ways tinnitus could affect your senior loved one’s quality of life.
1. Loss of Sleep
It’s when things are quietest that tinnitus is at its loudest for many seniors. The noise inside the ear can become quite loud, making sleep difficult to achieve. A lack of sleep in and of itself is enough to cause a host of other problems, including irritability and a compromised immune system.
2. Identification of Underlying Conditions
For the most part, tinnitus remains a medical mystery. What’s known about the condition is that some sort of underlying health problem often causes it. Usually, it’s the result of high blood pressure or an overactive thyroid, though it may also be caused by an ear infection or other ailment. If the ringing is accompanied by pain and drainage, an infection may be the culprit.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
3. Compromised Mental State
Constant noise inside the ear would cause anyone to become annoyed and irritable. Seniors with untreated tinnitus often find the condition interferes with their mental clarity and stability. Seek professional help for your loved one if he or she notices the sound doesn’t go away on its own.
4. Excessive Stress
Tinnitus causes added stress and anxiety for many seniors as a result of not being able to hear what other people are saying. This additional stress increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, insomnia, poor appetite, and a host of other issues. Stress can also worsen tinnitus in many instances.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. San Antonio families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
5. Social Withdrawal
Aging adults affected by tinnitus often have difficulty hearing what other people are saying. Seniors sometimes withdraw from loved ones and stop going to family events as a result of this type of hearing problem because they feel embarrassed. If they do attend social functions, they may just sit by themselves rather than not being able to hear what others are saying to them. As seniors become less communicative, it’s important for family caregivers to prevent their parents’ social withdrawal and isolation.
6. Worsened Health Conditions
Tinnitus can be severe enough to worsen existing health conditions for seniors. They may fail to exercise regularly and eat properly. Often, their balance is affected because hearing affects our depth perception. Consequently, people with hearing issues such as tinnitus are three times more likely to experience falls.
Hearing problems and other age-related conditions can make it challenging to live alone at home safely. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care San Antonio seniors can depend on. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (210) 495-6300.