Your body goes through many changes as you age. One change could be age-related hearing loss. Around 1 in 2 adults who are older than 65 years would experience some level of hearing loss, which is also described as presbycusis. While the condition is not life-threatening, it can hugely impact your life if you don’t seek proper treatment.
Causes of Age-Related Hearing Loss
Age-related hearing loss is a condition that gradually happens over time. The condition occurs when the inner ear goes through changes such as these:
- disruptions in blood circulation to the ear
- deterioration in the nerves that help one to hear
- changes in the structures of the inner ear
- changes in the manner that the brain analyzes sound and speech
- damaged tiny hairs in the ear that allow sounds to be transmitted to the brain
Age-related hearing loss can also be a result of:
- poor circulation
- exposure to very loud noises
- consumption of specific medications
Symptoms of Age-Related Hearing Loss
Frequently, the first symptom of age-related hearing loss is the inability to detect high-pitched noises. You may realize that it is difficult for you to hear the voices of children and females. You may also have a hard time hearing others speak clearly or detecting background noises.
These are other common symptoms:
- it is challenging to hear in places that are noisy
- sounds that seem overly loud
- difficulty differentiating the “th” and “s” sounds
- increasing the volume on the radio or television louder than normal
- ringing in the ears
- the need to ask people to repeat their words or sentences
- the inability to understand conversations over the phone
It is advisable that you notify your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. They could be signs of other medical conditions that you are not aware of.
How is Age-Related Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
To rule out other causes of hearing loss, doctors will complete a full physical exam on you if you experience the symptoms mentioned above. They may use an otoscope to look inside your ears.
Your doctor may diagnose you with age-related hearing loss if he or she cannot find other causes of your symptoms. You may be referred to a hearing specialist, or an audiologist, who can conduct a hearing test to find out the severity of hearing loss.
Although there is no remedy for age-related hearing loss, you can work closely with your doctor to manage your hearing better and improve your quality of life. You may be recommended these:
- telephone amplifiers, an assistive device
- hearing aids to allow you to hear better
- learning lip reading (for cases of major hearing loss) or sign language
Doctors may suggest a cochlear implant in certain cases, where a tiny electronic device is implanted into the ear through surgery. Cochlear implants allow sounds to be heard louder, although they don’t restore your ability to hear fully. This treatment targets more severe hearing-loss cases.
Age-related hearing loss worsens over time. Despite this, assistive devices like hearing aids do help to improve quality of life. It is advisable to discuss treatment options with your doctor and the steps you can take to reduce the impact of hearing loss on your everyday life. You may also contact our retirement community for assistance relating to age-related hearing loss.