As you grow old, your body experiences major physical changes, including variations in your ability to smell, see, and speak. Aging decreases sharpness of your senses, making it more difficult for you to observe certain details, see and hear things, and communicate. Any sensory information that goes to your brain is bound to be affected as you age, particularly the sense of hearing and sight. And such changes can lead to serious problems for the elderly at home or in aged care places.
Here are some scientifically proven facts about how aging impacts your hearing, sight, and speech.
Effects of Aging on Hearing
The ears are used for hearing and keeping balance, which implies that changes to your ear will lead to a hearing loss as well as balance problems. As you enter your twilight years, structures inside your ear and their function weaken. This can result in losing your ability to hear sounds of high frequency. You are also unable to differentiate certain sounds from another, and have problem hearing someone speak when there’s noise in the background. Worse, your ear wax also gets affected as you grow old.
When you experience these problems, you must pay a visit to an ENT specialist or a surgeon. They will be able to tell you what’s causing your hearing loss or imbalance problems and help you find the most appropriate cure or management solutions. You may also be recommended a hearing aid or given a variety of solutions to manage your tinnitus or affected air wax.
A wide body of research reveals that hearing problem occurs to over a quarter of people aged 65 years and older. Symptoms of hearing loss become clearer to a third of people by age 70 or more. Consider yourself lucky enough if your ears or hearing are still intact despite reaching those ages. But it doesn’t mean you feel yourself immune from these natural issues at these extreme ages; do ensure that you get your hearing checked by the time you reach age 60, or earlier.
Effects of Ageing on the Nose
By the time you reach your 50s, you will experience a reduced ability to smell or taste. In addition to a poor sense of taste, the elderly are not likely to enjoy the full array of flavors of the food they are eating.
The reason for the diminished sensitivity of your nose is owing to the thinner and drier lining. The nerve endings and saliva production also tend to worsen as you age, with people aged 70 and older experiencing the difference. There are also physical indicators, such as copious hair growth in the nose and a puffy or extended nose with the tip possibly drooping.
Nevertheless, aging is not the only problem responsible for the loss of the sense of smell. Smoking, ailment, and exposure to injurious particles or air pollution are also equally to blame.
What is upsetting about the loss of smell is the incapacity to sense danger, such as smoke, fire, or presence of toxic gas in the air, making it difficult for you to detect it. Identifying stale food when you experience the problem also becomes increasingly difficult, which could be harmful to your health.
Effects of Aging on the Throat and Voice
With an increasing age, the tissues of your larynx may harden, leading to croakiness or changes in the pitch and quality of your voice, and to aspiration or leakage of fluids or food into the trachea while swallowing. In many cases, severe or persistent aspiration can lead to pneumonia. Certain disorders can also be the cause of changes in the throat and voice, making them extremely crucial to watch out for. For example, hoarseness when accompanied by pain in swallowing or pain with phonation can indicate cancer. If blood appears in your cough, the subglottic area may have cancer. A number of treatment options exist for voice disorders, such as voice therapy and surgery.
Growing old is a natural phenomenon of life. And suffering from major and minor health issues is normal as you age. However, when you know what changes your body experiences as you age, you will be in a better position to manage them and live the rest of your life well and graciously.