What is Age-Related Hearing Loss?

It’s no mystery that adults gradually start losing their hearing as they age. And while it can be easy to attribute it to listening to their music too loudly when they were young, age-related hearing loss is actually a normal condition that affects almost all older adults, regardless of the music listening habits they enjoyed in their youth.

At Davis’ Wilmington NC skilled nursing center, many of our residents suffer from age-related hearing loss so we are well-equipped for managing this problem. Here is a quick guide that will help you understand this common condition a little better.

What Causes Age-Related Hearing Loss?

The most common cause of age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is a natural breakdown of the nerve cells within the inner ear. Sound continues to travel to the inner ear, but because the nerve cells are not as numerous or as strong as they once were, sound is not heard as clearly as it once was.

Another cause of hearing loss in older adults can be attributed to subtle but progressive changes in the eardrum or to the bones of the middle ear. When changes occur in these areas, it affects how sound travels through the ear and this can result in the sound being diverted away from the inner ear.

Certain medical conditions common with the aging process can also impact one’s ability to hear. These can include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and other problems pertaining to poor blood circulation.

How Does Age-Related Hearing Loss Affect Seniors?

Seniors who suffer from age-related hearing loss are typically affected in the following ways:

• Their ability to hear or distinguish high-pitched sounds is reduced. For instance, it may be easier for them to hear and understand someone with a lower-pitched voice than someone with a higher-pitched one.
• Speech sounds more mumbled and conversations can be challenging to hear, especially in settings with a lot of background noise.
• Tinnitus becomes more prevalent as the hearing loss worsens. This results in loud ringing, roaring, hissing, and other sounds within the ears.

How Can I Tell if I Have Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Most people with hearing loss aren’t even aware that they have it because it occurs so gradually. In most cases, those who have it will start showing signs of an inability to hear sounds at a normal level. For instance, you may find yourself increasing the volume on the television more frequently or you may have to stand closer to someone who is speaking in order to hear them more clearly.

The only way to truly determine the state of your hearing loss is to have your hearing tested by your doctor.

Is There a Cure for Hearing Loss?

There is no known cure for age-related hearing loss. But, there are a number of devices and options available to those who suffer from it, such as hearing aids, telephone amplifiers, and more.

One of the best times to identify whether or not a loved one may be suffering from hearing loss is at the holidays. Watch how they interact with others. Watch for facial expressions or gestures that may indicate they are struggling to hear. If you notice such changes, then you may want to pull them aside and ask them about their hearing. If necessary, ask them if you can schedule them an appointment with a hearing specialist.

Visit the Davis Community’s Wilmington NC Skilled Nursing Center

If you suffer from advanced age-related hearing loss and you are looking for a Wilmington NC skilled nursing center for yourself or for an aging loved one, then call the Davis Community today at 910.686.7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We offer a fun and supportive environment that can go a long way to improving your health and wellness. Get to know the difference today – visit the Davis Community!

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