An In-Depth Look at Senior Hearing Loss
Age-related hearing loss affects many seniors. Here’s how to help seniors prevent further hearing loss and cope healthily.
About 1 in 3 adults between 65 and 74 years old experiences hearing loss. Since hearing loss can sometimes be reduced, it’s important for seniors to be aware of their auditory health. (NIDCD)
Difficulty hearing or making out sounds can put seniors at risk of social, health, and safety problems. Here are the hearing loss basics. (NAIA)
The Basics of Hearing Loss
Who experiences hearing loss?
Anyone can experience hearing loss, but it is especially common among older adults. As age increases, the risk of hearing impairment increases as well.
What causes hearing loss?
Damage from noise or certain diseases can cause hearing loss, but so can simple deterioration that comes with age. Deterioration can be exacerbated by medical conditions like high blood pressure, exposure to noise, and other factors.
Are there different levels of hearing loss?
Age-related hearing loss is often gradual. What may begin as simply needing the TV volume louder can turn into being unable to make out words or sounds.
How can hearing loss be prevented?
Currently, hearing loss can’t be prevented entirely. However, it can be minimized or delayed by protecting against noise and avoiding common conditions that put you at greater risk of hearing loss (like diabetes).
Is Hearing Loss Dangerous?
Medically, age-related hearing loss is unlikely to cause other health problems. However, being hard of hearing can put you in risky situations, like making it difficult to hear an alarm or understand important instructions spoken to you.
What to Do If You Think You Have Hearing Loss
Signs of hearing loss include:
• Not being able to make sounds out against background noise
• Difficulty understanding words or sounds, especially consonants
• Withdrawal from conversations or avoidance of socializing
• Regularly turning up the volume
• Muffling of typically clear sounds including speech
What to Do If You Experience Signs of Hearing Loss:
If you have symptoms of hearing loss, see a doctor as soon as possible. A simple hearing test can lead to a diagnosis. Through the use of a hearing aid (or possibly with the help of surgery or implant), your hearing loss may be minimized.