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Understanding Tinnitus: How Does It Affect My Senior Loved One?

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

Constant, annoying noises within the ear such as ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, or roaring are commonly known as tinnitus. It can be brought on by prolonged exposure to loud noises, changes in the bones of the ear, an ear wax buildup, or most often, by age-related hearing loss. Most seniors with tinnitus are men and many have a history of smoking. Sometimes medications may cause tinnitus, but the problem often goes away once the medications have been stopped. If tinnitus doesn’t go away on its own, Omaha caregivers should familiarize themselves with the following information.

Describing the sound to a doctor can help diagnose underlying problems. For example, clicking sounds are typically the result of muscle contractions, while rushing sounds usually have a vascular origin. Age-related hearing loss or prolonged use of certain medications can cause the high-pitched ringing heard by some seniors.

Tinnitus caused by a one-time exposure to loud noises, such as a concert, usually doesn’t last. In some cases, tinnitus may be caused by ear trauma and diseases or by vascular problems, including atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

At its worst, tinnitus can significantly affect a senior’s quality of life. People may have trouble concentrating, difficulty with memory, depression, and anxiety. The condition adds to stress and even contributes to sleep problems.

If the noise appears suddenly without apparent cause, or causes hearing loss or dizziness, seniors should see a doctor immediately. Seniors should also seek attention if the noise begins after an upper respiratory infection and doesn’t go away within a week.

Doctors treat the underlying cause of the tinnitus, but may also prescribe electronic devices to mask symptoms caused by white noise. Seniors may also try tinnitus retraining, which uses music to mask the sound. Medications such as tricyclic antidepressants may also help control the problem, Omaha home care providers may also benefit seniors with tinnitus.

To help your loved one manage the complications associated with tinnitus, contact Home Care Assistance of Omaha. We provide flexible live-in and hourly home care in Omaha to help seniors age in place with confidence. Our compassionate caregivers help seniors manage activities of daily living while promoting overall health and wellbeing. Learn more today when you call (402) 763-9140 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.