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Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults

an older gentleman with hearing loss

Hearing loss can affect people at any age. There are a range of causes, including injury, exposure to dangerous levels of noise, ear infection and so on. However, it’s well-known by your hearing instrument specialist and other health professionals that hearing loss is significantly more common issue for people for people over the age of 65.

In fact, nearly one in two people over 65 have some kind of hearing loss. Here, we’re going to look at why that’s the case, and what can be done if you’re concerned you might have hearing loss, too.

Why is hearing loss more common for older adults?

Age-related hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss, affecting us as we grow older. There are a variety of causes, usually associated with the way that our ear changes with time. Like the rest of us, our ear grows older, which can lead to the following causes of age-related hearing loss:

  • Changes to inner ear structure
  • Damage to the tiny hairs inside the ear that are directly responsible for transmitting sound to the brain
  • Damage or degeneration of the nerves that communicate sound to the brain
  • Changes to blood flow in the ear
  • Changes resulted in abnormalities of the eardrum
  • Reduced function of the tiny bones in the middle ear that amplify sound waves for the inner ear

It’s also important to know that there are a great range of risk factors associated with hearing loss. Many of the following risk factors are much more common in older adults:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation
  • Exposure to dangerous levels of noise
  • Smoking
  • The use of some medications

Exposure to noise is the most likely to raise your chances of experiencing age-related hearing loss. In fact, most people over the age of 65 who have hearing loss have a mixture of noise-induced hearing loss and age-related hearing loss.

Symptoms and outlook

With hearing loss, it’s often first noticeable as the inability to hear higher-pitched noises as well. However, it may present in other ways, first. If you’re concerned that you might have hearing loss, here are some of the symptoms to look out for.

  • Difficulty hearing speech clearly
  • Trouble hearing in crowded or noisy environments
  • Tinnitus
  • Trouble communicating
  • Some types of sound seem much louder than others

Age-related hearing loss is a progressive condition, meaning that it will get worse over time without treatment. Hearing loss is permanent, meaning it cannot be reversed. However, your hearing instrument specialist can still help you treat it

How your hearing instrument specialist can help you with hearing loss

If you’re concerned that you might be experiencing age-related hearing loss, then you should get in touch with your hearing instrument specialist as soon as possible. They will be able to arrange an appointment for a hearing test. This is an examination that helps find out your entire range of hearing, as well as the severity of any hearing loss.

With the results of the hearing test, your hearing instrument specialist will help you choose the method of treatment that’s most effective. In most cases, this is a hearing aid. Hearing aids can amplify the sound around you, helping to restore your experience of sound to the levels it once used to be.

Why you should treat hearing loss no matter your age

The sooner you treat hearing loss, the better, for a variety of reasons. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait if you think you might be experiencing age-related hearing loss, or hearing loss of any kind:

  • Without a hearing aid, hearing loss is likely to continue to get worse over time. In some cases, treatment can slow the progression of the condition.
  • Hearing loss can lead to isolation, depression, fatigue and other impacts on your quality-of-life that should be taken seriously. Hearing aids can help reduce these impacts.
  • Hearing loss is associated with the decline of cognitive function. The parts of the brain responsible for catching sound signals can degrade, but hearing aids can keep them healthy.
  • Hearing loss can have a profound impact on your ability to socialize and maintain relationships that hearing aids can help you prevent.

Get in touch to start improving your hearing health today

Learn more about age-related hearing loss, the risks that can lead to it, and how you can treat it with the help of The Hearing Aid Specialists of the Carolinas. Find your nearest office and call the following numbers: Burlington: 336-226-4202, Asheville: 828-298-9174, Kernersville: 336-993-6887, Hendersonville: 828-696-4862, Winston-Salem: 336-377-3715.