1 in 2 adults over age 65 experience hearing loss in different levels. This age related condition is referred to as presbycusis or hearing loss due to aging.
Just like other age related conditions, it can also be caused by other health factors such as diabetes, poor blood circulation, use of certain medications and a family history of hearing loss
As for avoidable causes, this can seriously result from smoking and the most common culprit – exposure to loud noises.
The main symptom of presbycusis or age related hearing loss is difficulty hearing voices of females or children because of an inability to hear high pitched sounds. It will also be difficult to hear others speak clearly and it will be hard to hear background noises.
This occurs because the tiny hair-like sensory hearing cells in your cochlea (inner ear), known as stereocilia of hair cells are the first to get damaged and they don’t regenerate.
These hair cells are responsible for translating the sounds the ears collect into electrical impulses that the brain will be able to read or interpret so the absence of these cells results to an inability of the brain to relate to the sound and it translates to us as difficulty in understanding what we hear or not hearing it at all because the brain couldn’t send a signal.
According to health journals, the hearing impaired person will then experience certain sounds seeming overly loud but at the same time have difficulty hearing in areas that are noisy. There is difficulty hearing the difference between “s” and “th” sounds and sometimes this is accompanied by Tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
The person will find himself having to always turn up the volume of the television or radio a little louder than normal because he can’t hear clearly.
He will always ask people to repeat themselves because he is unable to understand conversations especially over the telephone.
Even if age related hearing loss is unavoidable, it is still best to delay or stop it from happening by following basic prevention techniques like avoiding repetitive exposure to loud sounds, wearing ear protection in loud places and controlling one’s blood sugar since people with diabetes are most prone.
As for those who have it already, wearing hearing aids will help them hear better as well as assistive devices like telephone amplifiers.
Lessons in sign language or lip reading can also help those who totally lost most of their hearing go on with their daily routines.
If you have a hearing problem, it’s time you speak to a hearing specialist and if necessary, use hearing aids as they can definitely help. If you’re a teacher, pay close attention, and if you experience any difficulty hearing, go to a hearing professional immediately to get a hearing aid prescription. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
HK Hearing & Speech Centre
Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,
and Hearing Aid Prescription