More than half of all adults over 65 experience some degree of hearing loss. It usually begins quite early, usually in our 30’s or 40’s and may be unnoticeable at first. The first sounds that we may have trouble hearing are those with high frequencies, which is why we may find men’s voices easier to hear than most women’s.
Though it is usually not serious, if you experience a problem with hearing you should see your healthcare provider. Age related loss is called presbycusis and tends to run in families. Others have loss which is noise-induced, quite often from working with heavy machinery for a long period of time.
Age related hearing loss may also be due to other reasons, such as:
- Poor circulation
- Use of some types of medication
Symptoms are ringing in the ears, constantly asking people to repeat themselves and having problems understanding telephone conversations.
Is there a treatment for hearing loss?
While there is no cure for age-related hearing loss, you can work with your doctor to improve your ability to hear. Treatments include:
- Hearing aids which will help you to hear better by increasing sound levels
- If it is severe you can take lessons in lip reading and sign language
- Cochlear implants which are small electronic devices that are surgically implanted in the inner ear, mostly used for severe loss
- Assistive devices such as amplifiers for telephones and cellphones; closed circuit systems used in theatres
Protect your ears by avoiding loud noise such as construction areas and listening to loud music. If you must be in an area where you are exposed to noise for a long period of time wear ear protection such as ear plugs. For those with diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.
Loss of hearing can affect your ability to age well. Have your hearing checked regularly as you grow older and if you notice any signs of hearing loss, speak with your doctor.