As people age, their human body goes through a lot of changes. Although most of these can be physically noticed, there are other internal ones that occur too and affect a person’s everyday life. One such change is hearing loss.
Generally, excessive noise throughout an individual’s lifetime can cause some hearing impairment as they get older. Whether it is mild, moderate or profound, not being able to hear properly makes a senior’s life a bit harder to function in regular social settings. That’s why many people often rely on various devices to improve their quality of life and reduce limitations created by hearing loss.
However, before you start looking for some of the best hearing devices for you, such as the Phonak hearing aid models, it is important that you first get acquainted with the basics of hearing loss and why it is a common problem for the elderly.
In this post, you will find all the information you need about hearing loss and how to best deal with it.
First signs of hearing loss
Identifying the first signs of hearing loss is crucial for getting the right treatment for you, according to Dr. Melissa Alexander of Alexander Audiology. Some symptoms that indicate you are dealing with hearing impairment include:
- The inability to follow conversations in noisy places
- Feelings of exhaustion after social events, especially if there was loud noise
- Speech and other sounds seem muffled
- Having trouble hearing high-pitched sounds
- Constantly raising the volume of the sound on the TV or radio
- Ringing in the ears
- Hypersensitivity to certain sounds that are bothersome or create pain
If you have any of these signs, you should immediately schedule a hearing evaluation with a qualified healthcare provider to determine the current health of your hearing and monitor it as you age.
Types of hearing loss
Hearing loss comes in several forms and it ranges from a mild loss to a total loss of hearing. Generally, there are two types of hearing loss, sensorineural and conductive hearing loss, but in older adults, there are three specific types. These include sudden hearing loss, age-related hearing loss and ringing in the ears.
For example, age-related hearing loss, commonly known as presbycusis, is a health condition that occurs due to changes in the inner ear and auditory nerve affecting both ears equally.
The other common type of hearing loss in older adults is tinnitus which is often described as a ringing in the ears and is usually a sign of other health problems.
Causes of hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss occurs gradually over time due to various changes in the inner ear that contribute to hearing impairment in seniors. Some of these include changes in the structures of the inner ear, changes in blood flow to the ear, impairment in the nerves responsible for hearing and changes in the way the brain processes speed and sound.
Other common causes of hearing loss in seniors include loud noises, ear wax buildup, severe health conditions, genetics and certain prescription drugs.
For example, if you have to attend a social event with high levels of noise, make sure you use some ear protection and distance yourself as much as possible from the source of the noise.
Devices to help with hearing loss
There are several devices professional hearing doctors may recommend older patients to use to improve their hearing impairment.
For example, hearing aids are one of the most commonly suggested tools to help the elderly with hearing loss. These hearing aids are electronic devices that go in your ear or behind it and amplify the sounds so you can communicate easily with others and participate in everyday activities.
Assistive listening devices are another useful tool that can help improve your hearing impairment and make your communications with others easier. Most of these devices now work through a wireless link that connects directly to your hearing aid or cochlear implant.
Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions in older adults. It occurs gradually as a result of various hearing stressors and comes in many forms that range with mild loss to total loss of hearing.
In order to be able to get the right treatment for your hearing impairment, it is crucial that you get your hearing tested on a regular basis and get acquainted with the basics of this common elderly health issue.
For more information, refer back to our guide and read up on this quick review of hearing loss in seniors.
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