Some degree of hearing loss is observed in over half of people who are above the age of 60. Many older adults have a hearing loss. There many cases having an age-related hearing loss. But many people are not aware that they have a hearing problem because an age-related hearing loss develops slowly. The old hearing loss most often occurs in both ears affecting equally. The loss is gradual, if you have an age-related hearing loss you may not realize that you’ve lost some of your ability to hear.
There is no specific cause for this damage known as presbycusis (also spelt presbyacusis, from Greek press “old” + acoustic “hearing”) but a number of different things that contribute to it like:
- Family history (age-related hearing loss tends to run in families).
- Smoking (smokers are more likely to have such hearing loss than nonsmokers).
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
- Being exposed to loud noise for too many.
- Usage of injurious chemicals produced by body cells.
- Consumption of certain medicines over the years that have hearing loss as a side effect.
- Being overweight.
- Hereditary reasons.
- Sounds or speech becoming dull, muffled or attenuated
- Need for increased volume on television, radio, music and other audio sources
- Difficulty understanding speech, especially women and children
- Difficulty in speech discrimination against background noise (cocktail party effect)
- Sensitivity to certain frequencies and volumes of sound.
- Difficulty using the telephone
- Loss of directionality of sound
- Ringing, buzzing, hissing or other sounds in the ear when no external sound is present.
There is no permanent cure for hearing loss in old people but there is a treatment improve the quality of life of people suffering from it. The following can be of help:
- Telephone amplifiers
- Learning sign language (for severe or prolonged hearing loss)
- Lip reading training
- Hearing aids
- Usage of visual cues to aid communication
- Prevent excess ear wax
- Cochlear implant
How to prevent age-related hearing loss
Excessive noise exposure damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, not dissimilar to the effect of age on the ear. This damage often results in permanent, sensorineural hearing loss. Here are tips to help keep your ears as sharp as possible.
Avoid Too Much Noise: Noisy sound around you if it’s loud enough to damage your hearing. Sounds from concert speakers, power tools like saws and drills, earphones, and more are all loud enough to damage your hearing.
Be a Quiet Enforcer: Buying appliances and devices that have low noise ratings. And if it’s too loud in the movie theatre, restaurant, or any other place you go often, ask the manager to turn it down.
Limit Loud Sounds in Your Life: Sometimes you can’t avoid the blare of an ambulance siren or the jackhammer on your street corner. But it’s best to limit the amount of time you’re around them. Noisy sound generate hearing loss is a result of the loudness of sounds and how long you hear them.
Wear Hearing Protection: If you know you’re going to be around loud sounds for more than a few minutes, think about wearing protection like Earplugs and Earmuffs
Don’t Smoke: Smoking makes you lose your hearing research said. If you light up, that’s one more good reason to quit. If you aren’t a smoker, avoid breathing secondhand smoke.
Remove Earwax Properly: A buildup of wax in your ears can muffle sound. But don’t use a cotton swab to clean them out they can push wax deeper in. Use a home irrigation kit to soften the wax and gently wash it out.
Have Your Hearing Test: Make an appointment to get a hearing test if you:
- Have close relatives with hearing loss
- Have trouble hearing conversations
- Are around loud noises on a regular basis
- Often hear ringing in your ears
Treatment is largely based on the extent to which the hearing loss exists. This can be evaluated through a hearing test. Regularly consulting with your doctor about your specific health needs is recommended. According to the world health organization, Approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss.