Hearing loss is a very common problem among elderly folks. According to WHO, approximately one in three people between ages 65 and 74 suffer from this problem. And half the people older than 75 can face difficulties of hearing loss. Exposure to loud noise, medication, genetics, and various diseases can promote hearing loss. But in many cases, aging can be a huge factor. Often most elderly people tend to hide this problem. They may isolate themselves from others. It may push them towards depression. Also, other people may find them rude, confusing, and uncooperative. In the following article, we are going to discuss the causes of hearing loss among the elderly and help you identify the primary signs.
Types of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can appear in several forms. It can also vary in degrees. Some people may only face difficulties hearing high pitch sounds. Others may not hear anything. According to the severity of the condition, hearing loss can be divided into two major types,
- Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or the auditory nerve is damaged. Most of the time they promote permanent hearing loss.
- Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when the sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. Earwax buildup, a punctured eardrum, or fluid buildup is the primary cause of this type of hearing loss. Surgery or medical procedure can restore this type of hearing loss.
There are a few additional types of hearing loss that need to be discussed.
- Sudden hearing loss: In this case, the patient severely loses the ability to hear within a short period of time. Immediate medical attention should be given in this case.
- Age-related hearing loss: The inner ear stops developing after a certain amount of time. So, within a certain age, a person starts losing the ability to hear. It occurs in both ears at the same time. So the person may not know that he’s losing his hearing.
- Ringing in the ear: This is a very common condition among elderly people. They may often find that there’s a hissing or buzzing sound in their ear. This can be a recurring event. But, it’s often the first sign of hearing loss. It can be caused by something simple, like some earwax blocking the ear canal. But can promote major hearing loss if not treated.
Cause of Hearing Loss
Several factors can cause a loss in hearing. We are going to briefly describe them below.
- Loud noises are the most common cause of hearing loss. Lawnmowers, snowblowers, loudspeakers are the major source of loud noises.
- Earwax and fluid build ups block soundwaves to reach your inner ear. Consult a medical advisor to solve it as soon as possible. In an advanced stage, this can promote infection in the air and can damage the eardrum greatly.
- Diabetes or high blood pressure can contribute to your hearing loss. Moreover, a heart condition, stroke, brain injury, or a tumor may affect your hearing loss.
- Some drugs for treating serious injury, heart diseases, cancer can come with a side effect of hearing loss.
- Genetics can also be a factor to shorten your hearing. Some of them can show up at birth and some may occur later in life.
Signs of Hearing Loss
A person suffering from hearing loss can be identified by their behavior. They might ask you to repeat yourself or accuse you of always mumbling. If proper steps are not taken immediately, the person poses a huge risk of dementia. Here we are going to point out 10 signs that may help you to identify someone having problems with hearing.
- Facing problems to listen over the telephone.
- Can’t communicate properly when in a crowd.
- Turning up the volume of TV or radio too often.
- Struggle to understand a conversation
- Face difficulties in hearing in noisy places.
- Complaining about being dizzy, or hearing ringing in the ear.
- Always asking others to repeat themselves.
- Complaining about people mumbling constantly.
- Misunderstand what others say and not answer expectedly.
- Especially face problems hearing high pitched voices like women or children.
Devices to Help Better Hearing
Modern science has blessed us with various technologies. And some of them can help a hearing-impaired person greatly. The hearing aid devices are the most common device that helps a hearing-impaired person. Improvements in battery life, appearance and effectiveness have led to a steady increase in the number of people using hearing aids that are rechargeable. It can come in various sizes & shapes. And it’s the most recommended device all over the globe.
Assistive-listening devices, mobile apps, cochlear implants are the other devices that can be used to help a person with hearing loss. But, one needs to consult their family doctor first about their condition. Then the doctor may suggest what’s best for you or refer you to an audiologist.
To be able to hear is a gift. And old age shouldn’t be an excuse to not treat your hearing problems. For your own happiness and well-being, one must find the proper treatment and devices to help them hear properly. Only then, a very long, happy, and healthy life can be achieved.