Presbycusis (a.k.a. age-related hearing loss) is a condition that’s commonly diagnosed by hearing healthcare professionals. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says that about one-third of those between the age of 65 – 70 suffer from some type of hearing loss. Another half of people 75 and older suffer from presbycusis.
This is one of the most common types of hearing loss having to do with sensory and nerve cells. There are a few other forms that are a bit less common and may affect people of different ages. However, presbycusis typically occurs gradually, taking many years to occur. It’s typically bilateral in that generally affects both ears simultaneously.
Why do you lose your hearing as you grow older?
As you grow older there’s a degeneration that happens within your inner ear and along the neural pathways leading to your brain. This will impact your hearing.
These changes are most typically caused by changes in the health of those tiny hairs that are located within your ear and whose job it is to help you hear. The job of these tiny hairs is to collect and translate sound waves into electrical signals. It’s then transmitted to your brain where it becomes a recognizable sound.
Unfortunately, hair cells don’t regenerate or regrow. For this reason, any damage that happens to these tiny hairs is permanent.
Will you suffer from hearing loss as you age?
The answer to this question mainly depends upon your genetics and your medical history. Of course, it also has to do with your exposure to noise throughout your lifetime. For instance, someone who works with firearms is much more likely to develop presbycusis than someone who’s a gardener. Veterans are at a higher because of the nature of their work. Some other contributing factors include:
● If your parents had hearing loss you may be predisposed to it.
● Medical conditions that affect the blood supply to your middle ear can result in hearing loss. These include diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
● There are certain drugs (ototoxic medications) that can affect your hearing. Two examples of this are aspirin and antibiotics. Older adults are more likely to take these medications and experience such side effects.
● Prolonged exposure to excessive levels of noise can result in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
What are the symptoms of Presbycusis?
Since this is something that occurs gradually most people don’t even realize that it’s happening. However, if you’re older and feel like your hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, some symptoms may indicate that you have presbycusis. These include:
● It may seem as though other people are either mumbling or slurring their words making it hard for you to understand them.
● Conversations may be difficult for you to understand, especially when background noise is present.
● Some sounds may seem as though they’re overly loud or annoying.
● You may find it difficult to hear higher-pitched sounds like your telephone ringing or the birds chirping.
● You may find that it’s easier to understand men’s voices and more challenging to understand women’s or children’s voices.
● When you have a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in at least one of your ears that won’t go away, this is what’s known as tinnitus.
How’s Presbycusis treated?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for most types of sensorineural hearing loss, including Presbycusis. However, there are a few ways in which this can be treated, including:
● If you have lost a mild-to-moderate amount of hearing you may benefit from wearing hearing aids. This will be decided by a thorough hearing evaluation. Your hearing healthcare professional can then make a recommendation regarding the type and style of hearing aid that will work best for you.
● Cochlear implants are a potential option for profound hearing losses. These are surgically implanted behind your ear.
● Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are used to amplify sound with or without a hearing aid.
How do you get help for Presbycusis? Getting help starts with visiting Countryside Hearing Aid Services in Clearwater, FL to have your hearing evaluated. Once you’ve done so you should follow their recommended course of treatment. To get started, give them a call today.
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