Many seniors experience some form of partial hearing loss as they get older. The correct terminology for age-related hearing loss is Presbycusis.
Presbycusis affects one in every three adults who are above the age of 65 years. The symptoms set in gradually and are often ignored at first. But eventually, it can lead to difficulty in hearing some high-pitched noises like the beeping of a microwave or the ringtone of a phone.
How Does Age Affects Hearing?
Causes Of Aging-Related Hearing Loss
- Most commonly Presbycusis develops due to problems with the inner ear
- Sometimes issues in the nerve pathways from the brain to the ear or some problems in the middle ear can also cause hearing loss
- Some people who have had continuous exposure to loud noise during the course of their adult work-life can also develop age related hearing loss
- In some cases age-related hearing loss is hereditary and runs in a family
- Certain health conditions like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes may also impact hearing
- Sometime the loss of hair cells, can lead to the reduction of hair cells in the inner ear and lead to difficulty in hearing
- Some medicines like aspirins and specific anti-biotics can also impact hearing in older adults
Most of these symptoms set in with age and can grow in severity as the senior gets older.
Symptoms Of Age-Related Hearing Loss
🔺The senior’s adult may become slurred or unclear
🔺They may have difficulty holding a conversation when there is any kind of background noise
🔺Adults with Presbycusis find it difficult to distinguish the pronunciation of different high pitched sounds like ‘s’ or ‘th’
🔺People with age-related hearing loss will usually find it easier to understand men’s voices rather than female voices
🔺A senior suffering from Presbycusis may even experience Tinnitus, which is a sort of sudden ringing noise inside the ear even when there is no sound outside
🔺People who are experiencing age-related hearing loss also often hear certain specific sounds as being overly loud or irritating
Treatment Of Age-Related Hearing Loss
Age-related hearing loss usually sets in as a partial difficulty in hearing. In most adults, it is ignored at the onset. But if care is not taken it can develop into full-blown hearing loss in both ears.
So it is very important to seek professional medical assistance for those who are starting to experience difficulty in hearing. However, in case of sudden onset of significant hearing loss, it is very important to go to the doctor immediately as this can be a symptom of some more severe underlying health condition.
Age-related hearing loss is usually diagnosed by doctors by examining the eardrum with the help of an otoscope. Audiograms are also conducted to test the extent of hearing loss in adults.
🔰Medicines and procedures to treat hearing loss in older adults is usually prescribed depending on the age and overall health condition of older adults
🔰But the most commonly recommended form of hearing loss treatment in older adults is hearing aids. These devices are non-invasive and can vastly improve an older adult’s quality of life
🔰Sometimes doctors suggest some assistive medical devices like telephone amplifiers for those suffering from a milder form of hearing loss
🔰Doctors also teach older adults methods to prevent the build of wax in their outer ear so that their hearing is not obstructed
🔰Some doctors recommend training seniors to pick up visual cues so that they can continue conversations even when they do not catch all the words
Age-related hearing loss cannot be completely cured. But doctors and medical devices can bring back the person’s hearing to a great extent. Doctors also recommend that people who work in noisy atmospheres for long hours should use good fluid-filled noise-canceling ear muffs or earplugs during work to prevent any damage to their eardrums.
Hearing loss in adults of advanced age is a common problem that can significantly hamper the quality of life of these individuals. But with some proper attention from their caregivers, timely medical attention can be sought and the problem can be resolved to a large extent.
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