The statistics show that about 10% percent of the population suffers from tinnitus. Out of this 10%, the majority of sufferers are in the age range of 50 -70. Studies have shown that the elderly are much more prone to hearing loss accompanied by tinnitus.
Because of their age, their body systems start to degenerate starting with the senses. The eyesight is usually the first sense to be affected, followed by smell, hearing, and taste. Since they have hearing difficulties they often end up being subjected to loud noises which may negatively affect their already sensitive and delicate bones in the ear canal.
With the elderly, we must be very aware of their physical condition and only suggest treatments that will progressively remedy the symptoms. With better treatment, they will be more receptive to treatment and communicate with the caregivers better.
The first step when treating tinnitus in the elderly is to check their ear canal for ear wax build-up. The elderly are often not able to take care of themselves to the best of their ability. The impaction of ear wax and dirt in the ears will affect their hearing and may cause tinnitus.
Chemical washes may be used to clean out their ears. This is recommended since cotton buds or suction will not be required and is generally not recommended either. It would be helpful to the elderly if they could be advised to clean their ears daily to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
The second way to alleviate the tinnitus symptoms in the elderly will be to use white noise therapy. This can be easily done by using noise generators specifically designed for this purpose. Or if you’re on a budget, a radio playing in the background may be good enough to mask the noises in their ear.
The principle is the same. As long as there is an external sound just slightly louder than the noises in their ear, it will be enough. So, soothing music or sounds of waves by the beach would be a good way to treat their condition.
In the event that the elderly person says that they have hearing loss, it would be advisable to bring them to a medical specialist in this field to do a diagnosis. The doctor may recommend a hearing aid which comes with a masker to help with the tinnitus.
The third way to help the elderly with their tinnitus would be to help them plan their diet. Certain foods that contain caffeine, too much salt, and other stimulants may aggravate the symptoms.
Elderly people should consume a clean, healthy diet with ample servings of fruit and even vitamins and supplements such as zinc and melatonin. All these measures will prevent them from developing illnesses such as diabetes, blood pressure problems (one of the causes of tinnitus), cardiac issues, etc. It would be a good idea to monitor their health through regular check-ups and diagnostics tests.
If a senior is able to maintain a healthy weight until old age, that is half the battle won. With regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, the common problems related to aging can be delayed or even prevented. Stress levels and boredom will also not be an issue.
All these small things which seem insignificant when accumulated can become a big problem that may cause tinnitus. Prevention is always better than cure.