There are currently over 2.2 million people that are receiving some type of long term care today. Seniors not only need someone to help with daily activities such as getting dressed, bathed, or help moving around but also with making sure that their health is checked on daily. A very unexpected risk is earwax. If earwax goes unrecognized for too long it can cause damage to eardrums and can even cause vertigo which can lead to falling. It also can cause hearing loss or ringing in the ears.

Earwax is a substance called “cerum” which is a mixture of dust and dirt. Most people can clean this out themselves and manage the prevention of backup. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundations says that, “Up to two-thirds of people in nursing homes may suffer from that condition, known as impaction.”

With 3 out of 5 people experiencing the affects of impaction, Federal Medicare logged in 2016 over 1.7 million dollars in earwax removal. This is a huge risk of why seniors are experiencing hearing loss so rapidly. Some people have started to do mobile ear cleanings which involve cleaning of hearing aids as well as checking the ears of seniors in nursing homes.

If seniors have hearing aids they should be getting cleaned every three to six months. Earwax removal or buildup can usually be treated by softening with water, saline or commercial ear drops. A recent study by Japanese researchers found that when earwax was removed regularly that seniors had improvements not only in hearing but their cognitive performance improved as well.