It didn’t bother her enough to affect her daily life, so Madam Chandreka, 68, never told anyone about hearing buzzing sounds in her ears.
She showed no signs of hearing difficulty, so her family did not know there was a problem.
That is, until her daughter took her to a functional screening session, which detected that one of her ears had a severe blockage.
Functional screening in a school
Madam Chandreka, who also has deformed legs due to arthritis and needs a wheelchair to move around, lives with her 41-year-old daughter Anita Davi and seven-year-oldgrandson Krishang.
Last November, the family was having breakfast at a foodcourt near their home when they met some volunteers who were distributing flyers about functional screening for seniors.
Says Madam Davi, who is her mother’s main caregiver: “It was a low-cost screening for the elderly, which would check the eyes, ears and mouth. Furthermore, it would be held at New Town Primary School, where my son studies.
“We got to know about this because we were at the right place at the right time. So I thought, why not?”
The functional screening venue was within walking distance from their home.
“It was held at Krishang’s school, so he was very happy to lead us there. He greeted the security guard and showed us around, pointing his classroom out to us,” Madam Davi says with a laugh.
Madam Chandreka was very proud of her grandson too, as he took good care of her, pushing her wheelchair and even guiding her to the washroom.
Everything’s clearer now
At the screening, Madam Chandreka’s eyesight and oral health were found to be fine.
However, there was a problem with her hearing. One of her ears was blocked by a lot of hard wax, which might cause temporary hearing loss if left untreated.
She was referred to a hospital for a follow-up appointment. During the 30-minute treatment, the hard wax in her ear was removed and she could go home straight away.
Madam Chandreka says: “Before this, I could still hear. There was no pain in my ears but there was a buzzing sound.
“After the treatment, I felt like the big buzzing sound was suddenly removed. Everything became very clear.”
The functional screening cost her only $2 as she holds a Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) card, while her follow-up treatment was paid with Medisave.
Madam Davi felt that the functional screening was good as it helps seniors find out if they have problems with their eyes, ears and mouth.
“If my mother hadn’t gone for the functional screening, we wouldn’t know about her hearing issue,” says Madam Davi.
“Before the check-up, she never told me that she couldn’t hear properly. She could respond to whatever we said, so we couldn’t tell. Who knows, maybe she was listening with the better ear.
“Although the problem was not serious, at least we stopped it from getting worse.”
This experience also taught the family a useful health tip. They learnt not to use cotton buds to clean inside their ears, as these could push ear wax farther in or injure the eardrum.
Madam Davi hopes all the seniors in her neighbourhood will be informed of the next functional screening session and be encouraged to go for it.
This series is an initiative under the Action Plan for Successful Ageing.
GET SCREENED EARLY
• Project Silver Screen (PSS) offers functional screening for hearing, eyesight and oral health at subsidised rates to Singapore citizens aged 60 and above.
• It is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Temasek Foundation Cares and the business community.
• Free for Pioneer Generation card holders, $2 for Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) card holders, $5 for all other Singapore citizens.
• Seniors who require follow-up treatment will be referred to the relevant healthcare services.
• Need-based subsidies are available for all treatments. Seniors may also receive PSS vouchers of between $15 and $200 if they require aids such as spectacles, hearing aids and dentures.
WHERE AND WHEN:
• For more information and functional screening schedules, visit www.projectsilverscreen.sg or call the Singapore Silver Line on 1800-650-6060 (Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 8.30pm, and Saturday: 8.30am to 4pm. Closed on Sundays and public holidays).