Age Related Hearing Loss: Don’t Put Them Out to Pasture Just Yet

By the time a person reaches a certain age it is inevitable that he or she will experience hearing loss to a certain degree. Sadly, there are times when age-related hearing loss is attributed to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia when the real problem is that the person simply can’t hear what’s going on around them. Before jumping to conclusions that mum or dad is going senile, have their hearing checked by a registered hearing aid audiologist!

Age Related Hearing Loss

In fact, this is a medical conditional called presbycusis, and it is more common than most people imagine. Age related hearing loss strikes a significant portion of the population and unfortunately, there is no known way to reverse it. There are, however, ways in which it can be dealt with so that older adults don’t need to suffer the consequences of not being able to hear conversations, the television or the person on the other end of the phone. 

Presbycusis Symptoms

Oddly enough, it usually isn’t the person suffering age-related hearing loss, presbycusis, who is the first to notice that their hearing is going. Gradually over a period of time the older adult will learn to make changes such as standing nearer to people talking to them and turning up the volume on the television. Because of this, it isn’t immediately noticeable that grandma or grandpa can’t hear. However, there will come a point when even these changes will not provide the amount of help needed and it becomes obvious that there is a problem with hearing.

Causes of Presbycusis

There are actually two main causes of age related hearing loss and the most common is a condition called sensorial hearing loss. This is where nerve cells in the inner ear begin to break down, which of course, prevents hearing adequately to lesser or greater degrees. Then there is an age related condition which affects the eardrum, the bones in the middle ear (otosclerosis) or both.  Sometimes heart disease, high blood pressure, circulatory problems and/or diabetes can affect the function of the ear and would then be a contributory factor as well.

Common Treatments

There are gadgets on the market that can be used to enable a person amplify the volume on telephones whilst other people resort to email, pagers and other forms of digital communications. However, those cannot help a person hear conversations or what is being said at the theatre so they are not the best solutions, even though they are effective for the purposes they serve. The best solution is to have a proper hearing test performed by an audiologist so that a proper hearing aid can be fitted and with wireless technology, there is no need to stay close to your gadget – it travels with you! An audiologist will advise you on the different types of hearing aids such as bone anchor hearing aids, to help find the best solution for you.

Before rashly assuming that the older adults in your life have lost their marbles, consider the fact that they simply can’t hear you! Too many times we simply stop trying to communicate because mum or dad won’t understand us anyway, so why bother. The truth is, more often than not you sound like a mumbled cacophony of noise to them and a hearing aid could fix them up in no time flat. No, it isn’t time for a jaunt in the old folks’ home; it’s simply time for a trip to the audiologist.