As you age, your risk of hearing loss increases. Close to 25% of those aged 65 to 74 and 50% of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.
Let’s look at what causes the increased risk of hearing loss with age, as well as the steps you can take to protect and prioritize your hearing health.
Common Causes of Age-related Hearing Loss
Age-related hearing loss happens when damage occurs to the hair cells of your inner ear or, less frequently, your auditory nerve. This damage may simply be a result of the aging process. However, it also becomes more likely that as you age, you are exposed to certain factors that increase your hearing loss risk, such as:
- Regular exposure to loud noise
- Taking medications that can damage your hearing
- Certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- Structural changes to the inner ear
Genetic conditions as well as having a family history of hearing loss can also increase your risk.
Can Hearing Loss Be Temporary?
Some cases of hearing loss are temporary and due to a blockage preventing sound waves from reaching the inner ear. This blockage can be caused by earwax buildup, fluid or a punctured eardrum. Medical treatment to resolve the issue should restore your hearing.
Preventing Permanent Hearing Loss
Depending on the cause, you can’t always prevent age-related hearing loss. However, you can take steps to keep your ears healthy by:
- Using hearing protection in loud environments
- Getting regular exercise and eating healthy foods to help prevent illnesses that contribute to hearing loss
- Don’t smoke or quit if you do
- Get a hearing test at the first sign of hearing loss
Hearing Loss Signs To Look Out For
Because age-related hearing loss can come on slowly, many people go years before seeking any kind of treatment. That’s why it can be helpful to be aware of early signs to look out for, including:
- Difficulty following conversations, especially in places with background noise like when having dinner at Ocean Grill
- Turning up the volume on the television or radio louder than you used to
- Trouble hearing high-pitched sounds, like children’s voices
- Ringing in the ears
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
- Being unable to understand conversations over the phone
Treating Hearing Loss in Seniors
If you have hearing loss, your audiologist will likely recommend hearing aids. Together you will work to find a model that suits your style as well as your individual hearing needs. Treating hearing loss doesn’t just help you process sounds better, but it can benefit your physical, mental and cognitive health as well.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for an evaluation, call Aaron's Hearing Aid & Audiology Center today.