How Does Your Hearing Change As You Get Older
Will it happen to me, too?
The quick answer is probably yes, at least to some extent. The majority of us will have some degree of hearing loss as we age. Hearing loss affects almost one-third of adults aged 65 to 74 in the United States. Hearing loss affects nearly half of individuals over the age of 75. There are, however, things you may take to keep your hearing as long as possible.
What are the reasons?
In most situations, age-related hearing loss manifests itself in both ears simultaneously. Changes in the ear itself that occur throughout time are frequently the cause. The inner ear is where these changes are most typically found, but they can also be found in other parts of the body. Changes in the nerves that connect the ear to the brain are sometimes involved.
It’s not only your age.
Several factors influence how much hearing declines with ageing. These are some examples:
Diabetes, recurring ear infections, high blood pressure, and diabetes are all examples of medical disorders.
Medications you’ve been taking, including aspirin, chemotherapy, and some antibiotics
Exposure to loud noises such as music, lawnmowers, fireworks, gunshots, loud motors, and aeroplanes
Whether or not you have a family history of hearing loss
Keep an eye out for these indicators.
You may have the following symptoms if your hearing is impaired:
Difficulty understanding words or following a conversation, particularly in noisy environments such as restaurants.
Hearing difficulties with consonants such as “s,” “t,” “k,” “p,” and “f.”
Hearing difficulties with high-pitched sounds such as doorbells or telephones
Is it possible that I have a hearing problem?
If you suspect you have a hearing problem but are unsure, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you ever feel self-conscious because you can’t hear?
Do you get annoyed when you can’t hear your friends or family members when you’re talking to them?
Do you have to turn the TV or radio up louder than others to hear it?
Do you believe your hearing restricts or hinders you in any way?
A quick trip to the doctor is in order if you answered yes to any of the following questions.
Where do I begin?
You should consult a doctor if your hearing is becoming an issue for you. Contact your primary care physician first, who may advise you to see a specialist.
Experts who can assist you
An ear, nose, and throat (ENT) expert will examine your ears to see whether there is a cause for your hearing loss other than age. An audiologist will assess your hearing loss and advise you on how much you have lost. A hearing aid specialist can also assess your hearing and fit you with a hearing aid if necessary.
Hearing aids may be prescribed by your doctor if your hearing loss is severe. Hearing aids are electrical devices worn in the ear. They increase the volume of the sound. Some are so little that you can’t even see them. Test out various hearing aids to choose both comfortable and practical for you.
What further can be done?
When using hearing aids, you can hear better by amplifying what you need to hear. Inquire about portable receivers that can be worn in public areas like movies, airports, and places of worship to improve your hearing. When conversing, pay special attention to the person’s mouth, lips, and gestures. This may assist you in comprehending more of what the other is saying.
Don’t be afraid to notify your friends, family, and coworkers about your hearing loss. There are some basic things you and people around you can do to improve your hearing:
Request that the individual you’re speaking with speak louder and more clearly without shouting.
Assure that you can see their faces when they speak.
At home, keep background noise to a minimum.
Find quieter areas when you’re out and about.
Keep your hearing safe.
There is no clear way to prevent or decrease the progression of age-related hearing loss. However, you can take precautions to avoid exacerbating the condition. Avoid making loud noises at work and in your spare time. If you can’t avoid loud noises, protect your ears and hearing by wearing earplugs or earmuffs.
The loss of hearing that most of us endure as we get older is known as age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). It is one of the most common diseases that affects the elderly.
One in every three persons in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 suffers from hearing loss, while more than half of those over 75 have difficulty hearing.
Comprehension might be hampered by hearing impairments. and follow medical advice, respond to warnings, and hear phone calls, doorbells, and smoke detectors.
Hearing loss can sometimes make people feel hesitant to talk to friends and family, leading to feelings of isolation.
Hearing loss caused by ageing affects both ears typically equally. Because hearing loss occurs gradually, you may be unaware that you have lost some of your hearing.
Age-related hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors. Age-related changes in the inner ear usually cause it. Still, it can also be caused by changes in the middle ear or complex abnormalities in the neuronal pathways connecting the ear to the brain.
Certain disorders and drugs may also be involved.
Hearing is based on processes that turn airborne sound waves into electrical impulses. The auditory nerve subsequently sends this information to the brain via a complicated series of stages.
Sound waves enter the pinna and travel through a thin channel known as the ear canal to the eardrum.
Because of the sound, the eardrum vibrates the incoming sound waves. which in turn causes three small bones in the middle ear to vibrate as well. These three bones are referred to by their scientific names as the malleus, incus, and stapes respectively.
The middle ear bones convert sound waves from the air to fluid vibrations in the inner ear’s cochlea, which is shaped like a snail and filled with fluid.
The cochlea is divided into upper and lower parts by an elastic partition that extends from the beginning to the conclusion. The basilar membrane is the name of this barrier because it serves as the base or first floor on which the principal auditory structures are located.
When the fluid in the cochlea oscillates as a result of vibrations, waveforms travel along the basilar membrane. Immediately above the basilar membrane, a layer of sensory hair cells follows this wave.
On top of the hair, cells are stereocilia, which are tiny hair-like projections that bump against and stretch against an overlaying structure as they travel up and down.
The stereocilia’s tips form pore-like canals when bent. Substances enter the cells and produce an electrical signal in this manner.
In the brain, this electrical signal is transformed into a sound we recognise and understand, thanks to the auditory nerve.
Hearing loss has far-reaching consequences that go beyond your ability to hear. When you can’t hear properly, it’s more difficult to enjoy activities like attending the movies, lectures, performances, church service, or other community events. That may mean you won’t be able to spend time with the important people around you. Make good hearing a high priority to avoid feelings of loneliness and despair.