6 Causes of Ear Infections in Elderly People

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Common Reasons Seniors Get Ear Infections in SARASOTA, FL

The short length of the pathway between the sinus passages and the Eustachian tubes is one of the main reasons ear infections are commonly seen in young children. However, aging adults also come down with ear infections from time to time. Some of the most common causes of ear infections in seniors include the six listed below.

1. Smoking

Smokers and seniors exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher incidence of upper respiratory problems. Once affected, sinuses fill with fluid and get swollen and irritated, and the fluid travels to the inner ear. The warm, moist environment encourages microbial growth and subsequent infection. Smokers in your aging loved one’s home should consider quitting. Otherwise, you should limit smoking to outside the home.

2. Cold & Flu Season

Since the ears are openings in the body, they can be an easy target for viruses and bacteria. In addition, the viruses that cause colds and flu can gain access through nasal and oral passages, leading to congestion that can quickly travel to one or both ears. Seniors then develop ear infections from viruses or secondary infections from bacterial invasion. Decongestants can prevent fluid buildup in the sinuses and ears.

To help your aging parent prevent bacterial and viral ear infections, encourage him or her to stay away from people who are sick and wash his or her hands regularly, especially after being around other people.

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care service. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

3. Allergies

Allergy season is the peak time for ear infections, and seniors who experience indoor or outdoor allergies are all too familiar with allergy-related sinus irritation. Congestion, fluid buildup, tissue irritation, and other allergy symptoms can cause additional pressure in the ears, which can lead to an infectious process. During allergy season, with the doctor’s approval, your loved one can use over-the-counter medications to prevent allergy symptoms from developing. 

4. Swimmer’s Ear

Seniors who spend a great deal of time in the water may develop ear infections because water gets trapped in their ears. Fluid that remains in the outer ear canal after bathing or swimming also encourages microbial growth. The chances of developing this type of infection increase when older adults spend time in natural bodies of water, where various types of bacteria thrive. Cotton balls in the ears can deter the problem during bathing. Encourage your loved one to wear snug-fitting earplugs while swimming and thoroughly dry out his or her ears with a hair dryer or towel immediately after getting out of the water.

5. Impaired Immune Systems

As adults age, it’s common for their immune systems to weaken, which leaves them more susceptible to infection. Cancer, cancer treatments, and immunosuppressive medications put seniors at even greater risk for developing these infections.

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of senior care. Sarasota Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

6. Anatomical Abnormalities

Enlarged adenoids and deformities in the Eustachian tubes or nasal passages can contribute to the development of ear infections in aging adults. This is because these abnormalities typically encourage fluid migration to the middle ear or block fluid drainage.

If you need help protecting your loved one from ear infections and other illnesses, a home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Sarasota, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (941) 702-5525 to schedule a free in-home consultation.


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