What is Presbycusis (Age-related hearing loss)
Statistically, almost all of us will begin to lose our hearing by the time we are in our 30s and 40s. The loss of hearing as people age is called presbycusis or age-related hearing loss. One in five adults and around 40 to 50 percent of people aged 75 and above may experience hearing loss. Furthermore, hearing loss happens to be the third most common chronic health concern in older adults.
Does everyone lose their hearing?
Most of us will at some point of our lives due to wear and tear to the delicate hair cells in our ears over time. However, the following factors may play a major role in causing age-related hearing loss as well:
- Regular exposure to loud noise (for example, listening to music at maximum volume every day)
- History of middle ear disease
- Having close relatives who have Presbyacusis
- Smoking (Smokers are more likely to have hearing loss than nonsmokers)
Symptoms of Presbycusis
In most people, age-related hearing loss starts with a decline in ability to hear high frequency sounds. High frequency sounds can be found in speech so the initial sign could be not being able to understand or hear what most people say to you. Some high frequency consonants that you may not be able to hear are f, k, p, s and t.
Furthermore, women’s voices may not be as clear to you as men’s voices and you may have difficulty hearing in noisy environments. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Voices sound slurred and mumbled
- Asking people to repeat what they just said
- Keeping the television or speakers louder than others around you prefer
- Having a hard time keeping up with conversations in a group
- Ringing in your ears
- Feeling frustrated, withdrawn or impatient
- Changes in vision
Make sure you see a doctor if you have one or more of these symptoms so that your doctor can help you find the best possible treatment.
Poor hearing can affect your personal and professional life. People with Presbyacusis are often seen asking people to repeat themselves. The inability to hear properly makes them frustrated and affects the quality of their lives quite deeply. However, addressing the issue early can massively prevent further emotional and physical complications in your life.
Treatment for age-related hearing loss
Treatment for age related hearing loss often depends on the severity of hearing loss and its main objective is to improve your quality of life. Note that hearing loss cannot be cured but doctors can prescribe certain tools and hearing devices that may help you hear well. This will also help remedy depression related to hearing loss and improve your social life.
Some treatments may work better for one person than the other, which is why seeing a doctor is important. A doctor will diagnose the issue and rule out other possible causes of your hearing loss – such as a wax blockage in your ears.
If you have age-related hearing loss, your doctor will recommend one of the following treatments:
- Hearing aids
- Cochlear implants
- Bone anchored hearing systems
- Lip reading or speech reading therapy
- Assistive learning devices, which include cell phone amplifying devices or special apps that may help you
How your friends and family can help
Allow your friends and family to work with you and help you make living with hearing loss a lot easier. Some things you can do are:
- Inform your friends and family about your hearing loss. Doing this will ensure that your loved ones are able to help you cope with your condition.
- After you’ve informed them, ask them to speak louder for you (without shouting). Tell them they just need to talk more clearly, not slowly.
- Switch off your TV and radio when you’re not actively listening to them
- Ask people you meet to talk to you in such a way that you can see their faces. This will allow you to see their expressions and understand what they’re saying better.
- Avoid places that make hearing more difficult. For example, sitting somewhere away from the band playing music or the kitchen will help you enjoy the conversations you have with your friends and family much better as you’ll be able to hear them more clearly.
Working together with your loved ones can be tough business but as time goes, you’ll get used to watching people while they talk or hearing them speak louder for you to understand more clearly. It’s important that you are patient, seek appropriate treatment and accept care from your loved ones.
Atlanta Hearing Doctor
5885 Glenridge Dr #155
Atlanta, GA 30328