Do You Know These Signs of Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Age-related hearing loss is incredibly common, affecting roughly half of those older than 75. It also impacts 1 in 3 people between 65 and 74, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

But these are just numbers. How do these translate to you?

It means misunderstandings. Difficulty hearing your grandchildren. Being unable to communicate with your friends at our assisted living facility in Wilmington.

We’ll take a closer look at these signs of age-related hearing loss, what you can do about it, and how to improve communication with others. 

What Are the Signs of Age-Related Hearing Loss?

The signs of age-related hearing loss may be subtle at first, but it’s vital to pay attention so you can get the help you need to enjoy a higher quality of life. Some researchers even believe there may be a connection between hearing loss and dementia.

Following are some things to be on the lookout for:

  • You may find certain sounds, like high-pitched noises, particularly annoying.
  • You have trouble hearing in an area with background noise.
  • You find it challenging to understand conversations.
  • It’s difficult for you to distinguish between the “th” and “s” sounds. 
  • You notice that others’ speech sounds muffled or even slurred.
  • You have to frequently ask others to repeat themselves.
  • You find that you are turning up the volume on the television or radio to hear clearly.
  • You find it helpful to use closed captions for television or streaming shows.
  • You may have a high-pitched noise in your ear (called tinnitus)

What Causes Age-Related Hearing Loss?

As we mentioned earlier, hearing loss is more common the older you get. It’s all centered around how your ears work. To put it simply, tiny hairs help move soundwaves into the inner ear, where they are transformed into signals that are delivered to your brain. 

As you age, these tiny hairs become damaged. Your nerves can also degenerate as delicate structures of your inner ear age.

Some other factors contribute to hearing loss. If you’ve had a lifetime of smoking, this can affect circulation, which in turn, impacts all systems within your body—including your hearing. If you’ve been exposed to prolonged periods of loud noise, either due to your job or other factors, you’re more likely to experience age-related hearing loss. 

What Is the Most Common Cause of Hearing Loss in Older Adults?

Age is the most common cause of hearing loss in those who are older. As we mentioned before, this is a gradual decline that occurs through the years as the structures inside your ear eventually degenerate.

What Is Presbycusis?

Presbycusis is the medical term for age-related hearing loss. 

Can You Stop Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Sadly, while research is ongoing, there are currently no methods to stop elderly hearing loss. However, there are some ways you can prevent your hearing from getting progressively worse. These include:

  • Avoid loud noises for extended periods.
  • Don’t turn up the volume on your TV or listening devices.
  • Avoid loud concerts—or at least wear earplugs if needed.
  • Take care of yourself – conditions such as diabetes and hypertension can make the situation worse.

What Should You Do If You’re Showing Signs of Hearing Loss?

The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your doctor—typically an ear, nose, and throat doctor. These professionals work with audiologists and other hearing specialists who can determine the extent of your hearing loss.

Then, follow their instructions. This may include having a hearing aid or assistive listening device. 

Sadly, only about 29.2 % of older Americans with hearing loss have hearing aids.

How Can You Communicate Better With a Hearing Loss?

First, don’t be embarrassed to tell someone that you have difficulty hearing. As we’ve discussed, this is a very common condition and is considered to be a part of the aging process. 

You may also find this helpful:

  • Be sure you are facing someone when you are talking to them.
  • Be aware of any gestures or cues—a lot of communication is non-verbal.
  • Be sure you are in the same room with the person who is talking.
  • If in a restaurant, try to avoid getting a table near the kitchen, the door, or the host stand. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the speaker to talk slower or even louder.
  • If you’re still having trouble communicating after several attempts, ask the speaker to write it down.

At Cedar Cove, We’re Sensitive to Our Residents with Hearing Loss

We recognize that a large percentage of senior adults have difficulty hearing, and that’s why we make sure we follow all the best practices to ensure that you understand your environment and what is being said. 

Are you ready to take the headache out of daily chores and home maintenance? Contact us for a tour. But hurry, our spaces fill quickly.