As we age, our hearing, like other functions diminish. When age- related hearing loss occurs, it is gradual and tends to affect both ears equally – what you cannot hear on the left side of your face is the same as what you cannot hear on the right side of your face. Doctors call this medical condition presbycusis or age-related hearing loss.
Why hearing loss occurs
Hearing loss is caused by noise aging, disease, and hereditary reasons. Hearing loss effects how people listen and then communicate with others. Because there are gaps with what is heard, the person suffering hearing loss may appear confused or misunderstand the context of the conversation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that approximately 1 in 3 people between the ages of 65 and 75 have hearing loss. They also found that half of the people over 75 have difficulty hearing. Both groups, have the same difficulty admitting they are experiencing hearing loss or hearing difficulty.
Ignoring hearing problems will not make them go away. Hearing problems worsen with time, not get better. People mistakenly believe you are confused, unresponsive, and uncooperative when in fact you cannot hear words, phrases or some sentences when people communicate with you. More complicated conditions may arise and develop if hearing loss does not get evaluated, like depression and dementia.
Signs of hearing loss
It is difficult to self-diagnose hearing loss because you know internally what it is that you are trying to say. When the listener expresses confusion, the mistake belongs to the listener not the speaker. There are ways you can identify if some of your comprehension problems are related to hearing loss they include identifying that some of the circumstances listed below occur to you:
- You cannot hear over the telephone when speaking with someone;
- When 2 or more people are talking you cannot follow the conversation or there are parts of it that you know you did not hear;
- The volume on your television, everyone tells you, is too high;
- You talk loudly all of the time;
- You ask speakers to repeat themselves.
- You hear ringing or background noise clearer than the person speaking to you; or
- You think people talking to you are mumbling.
There are many treatment options available for hearing loss. Many people want to delay the decision to use hearing aides because they feel it will age them or make others treat them differently. The benefits far-outweigh any negative associations. Consider your choices wisely and strive to recover and repair any lost hearing.
Hearing aides are just one tool that can assist a person recover the ability to hear. Assistive-listening devices, like alerts or alarms that can work with door bells, fire alarms and home alarm systems are readily available. Some inviduals may even be able to try out an over the counter hearing aid or be a candidate for a cochlear implant for severe hearing loss. The possibilities are varied but all will help you recover some or all of your hearing.
Where to get help
If you are experiencing hearing loss, seek medical attention from your doctor. Please note that sudden, rapid hearing loss, is a medical emergency. To preserve your hearing seek treatment without delay.