As we age, many of our senses begin to fade. Hearing loss is quite common in seniors and can start as early as age 60. This can deteriorate more each year until we need some type of hearing aid or device.
As hearing starts to fail, many people don’t do anything about it until they are nearly completely deaf. It can decrease your enjoyment in life and make it difficult to function normally.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are many factors that can cause a decrease in a person’s hearing. Age-related hearing loss is a common reason, with one in three adults over 65 experiencing it.
Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis. At least half of the people over 75 will have some measure of age-related hearing loss. Someone with this type of hearing loss can have a variety of symptoms.
- They may have trouble hearing higher-pitched noises, like a phone, a siren, or children’s voices.
- They may have trouble making out individual voices in a crowd or where there is other noise.
- They may keep turning up the volume on a television or radio.
- They may appear to be trying to lip-read when someone is speaking to them.
This type of hearing loss happens as we age and the changes that occur in the inner ear. It usually affects both ears and it is gradual over the years. Because it is gradual, many people don’t really notice until it becomes quite advanced.
Other causes of hearing loss as we age can be related to other reasons. Some may be health-related and some may be hereditary.
Some people with diabetes may experience hearing loss. Studies show that people with diabetes suffer from hearing loss twice as many times as those without.
High blood pressure can also advance hearing loss. The high pressure in the vascular system can actually cause damage to the inner ear. Depending on each situation, the hearing loss can be gradual or rather sudden.
Poor circulation can also harm your hearing, as well as other senses in your body. If the inner ear is not receiving enough blood, it can permanently damage the vessels in the inner ear.
If the hearing loss comes on suddenly, it may be caused by a change in medication. Known as ototoxic medicines, the early symptoms may be a ringing in the ears or dizziness and vertigo.
There are other reasons that cause hearing loss. Many may be unavoidable. One of the more common is prolonged exposure to loud noise. Playing loud music in a band, working with loud machinery, or recreational noises like firearms, or fireworks.
Long exposure to these loud noises will cause damage that can not be recovered. The vibrations cause damage to the tiny hairs that protect your inner ear, and the damage may continue long after the noise has stopped.
Living With Hearing Loss
Hearing loss for a senior can be isolating. If they are having difficulty hearing what is said in social situations, it can be embarrassing and they may just stop going altogether.
If you believe you are losing your hearing, get your hearing tested. The sooner your medical professional understands your issue, the better the results will be. There is a good chance you will have to consider hearing aids.
Be sure to let your family know that you are having difficulty hearing. Get them to speak slower and tell them to tell you what they need to in simple terms. This will help you understand them better.
When having a conversation, try to eliminate any background noises. Many hearing devices can’t pick out one sound from another, and it is all one loud sound that you can’t understand.
If you have a senior in your life who you suspect may be suffering from hearing loss, get them tested. If you are worried about their safety, you may want to consider some type of emergency alert system.
You have enough to worry about, you don’t need to add your loved ones’ hearing loss to it all. A Lifeline medical alert system can give you and your loved one peace of mind knowing they are always protected.