Topic: Caregivers-, Ears, Earwax and Eldercare
There was a point when I would call mommy and she would be slow to answer. “Mommy, what are ya watching on TV?” There would be no answer. “MOMMY, why are you ignoring me?” Reply: “I you saying something, but I could not make out all of what you said.” I would joke often with mommy saying things like “stop acting old…you know you here me.” Oh the Memories!
When someone has been taking care of themselves, we assume they are playing attention to all the open areas of the body…RIGHT? Well, at one point, we had a hearing problem. Guess Why! Diminished hearing could result from earwax buildup. Do not go straight for the hearing aids!
Earwax, also known as cerumen (the medical term), is a waxy substance secreted in the ear canal. It is brownish- yellow orange in color and soft. It protects the skin of the ear canal. Its major role along with the tiny hairs along the ear canals provide cleaning, lubrication, and protection against things line warding off bacteria, fungus, and water. When earwax is unable to perform its duty due to buildup, or earwax blockage (hardened ear wax) that covers the opening in the ears, this can cause hearing loss.
We have been told all our lives not to stick things in our ears. But you were never told not to clean them. In the elderly, hearing loss can be the result of ears not cleaned correctly over the years. Another issue that has been documented as a problem is individuals trying to remove earwax using things like bobby pins, cotton swabs and other strange objects in the ears. These habits can also push earwax deeper into the ears, creating a blockage and can cause major damage to your ears. A trip to the ear, nose, and throat doctor (also known as and ENT or an otolaryngologist) cleaned out mommy hears was all it took.
When cleaning your care recipient’s ears and your, only clean the outer of the ear canal. For more difficult ear wax(hardened) there are over the counter drops that are helpful. Note: Always check with your healthcare practitioner before using substances that have been suggested like:
- mineral oil
- hydrogen peroxide
- carbamide peroxide
- baby oil
Remember, before going for the hearing aids, check for EARWAX!