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Senior Care Tips: Proper Care for Your Parent's Ears

May 10th, 2016

Senior Care in Juno Beach FL

Senior Care in Juno Beach FLMay is Better Hearing and Speech Month. During this month it is important to focus on protecting your parent's hearing so that they can continue to enjoy it throughout their later years. One effort that you can make in your senior care journey to help your parent maintain better hearing as they age is ensuring that they care for their ears properly.

Earwax may just seem like a superfluous substance that your body produces, but the reality is that this material plays an important role in the function and health of the human ear. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, earwax has antibacterial properties, lubricates the ears, and protects them by catching and removing germs, dirt, and other debris. Without enough earwax the ears can become dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. With too much, however, the ear can become blocked, feel clogged, and not be able to function properly. Many older adults who think that they are losing their hearing are actually just experiencing compacted earwax that is blocking their ear so that they cannot hear as effectively. Proper cleaning of the ears helps to keep the earwax at appropriate levels within the ear and support the body's natural self-cleaning function that moves the wax and debris from inside the ear to the opening where the body can dispel it.
Use these tips to safely and effectively care for your aging parent's ears:
• Avoid the canal. Most of the time your parent will not need to clean their ear canal. This is the opening or hole in the ear. Instead, use a cloth to wipe the outside portion of the ear. If there is a considerable amount of earwax, skin, or other debris in the curves of the ear or on the outer portion of the ear canal, use a cotton swab to carefully wipe it away. Never insert anything into the ear canal. This includes cotton swabs, ear candles, pins, tweezers, or other objects. This can cause small cuts and other injuries that can become infected, or can push wax deeper into the ear leading to impaction.
• Soften the wax. If your parent is dealing with excess wax and it is not coming out, softening it can be effective. Try putting a few drops of mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide, or a wax softening drop into the ears. This will help to soften the wax, dislodge it from the ear, and encourage it to move out of the canal.
• Syringe with caution. Use of ear syringing or irrigation kits at home can help to reduce wax buildup in the ear, but they can also cause serious side effects if not handled properly. Avoid using this technique if your parent has diabetes or a weakened immune system.

If your parent is experiencing pain, itching, fullness, loss of hearing, dryness, discharge, odor, or other problematic symptoms in their ears, get in touch with their doctor for a thorough examination. This will help to rule out infection or other issues, and can allow the doctor to determine the best method of care for your parent's ears. If you are not comfortable handling these care tasks, a home care provider can be a valuable source of support to help keep your parent's ears healthier and cleaner.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Juno Beach, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.