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Understanding Hearing Loss Associated With Age

Majority of Hearing Loss cases are due to the advancing age. As we age, so do all our organs which results in reduced hearing ability. Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis, It normally starts around the age of 50 and progresses slowly. The degree of hearing loss may be different in each ear and varies from person to person.

As per the latest research, age-related hearing loss is not limited only to lack of hearing, but is also associated with negative effects on our health. Senior citizens suffering from Hearing Loss are prone to depression caused by social isolation and in extreme cases, it also leads to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important to detect early so that the effects are minimized and the affected person can lead a normal or near-normal life.

For early detection, it is necessary that we first realize that our hearing is becoming weak. But how do we do that? One has to know the early symptoms which can warn us so we can take appropriate action. We advise all our readers to read the various articles on Hearing Loss issues to become familiar with the symptoms and types of hearing loss.

Once we are convinced that we have a hearing loss, we should consult an ENT Doctor and undergo an Audiometry test or hearing check-up.

hearing loss

An Audiologist Conducting Audiometry Test

There is more than one cause for hearing loss, in a majority of the cases, it is due to ageing or weakening of the parts of the inner ear including the nerves which carry the sound signal to our brain. Other prominent factors are family history and continuous exposure to loud noises which is known as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and some other diseases also contribute to hearing loss.

In some cases there are further complications as the affected person can also suffer from Tinnitus. The ringing or whistling sound in the ear are signs of Tinnitus, these sounds are not from an external source but are generated in the ear itself.

Also Read about: What You Need To Know About Tinnitus

When Should We Visit The Ear Specialist?

Hearing loss associated with age should be evaluated as soon as possible. This helps minimize its impact, as well as rule out the temporary causes of hearing loss such as earwax or infection. Hearing Loss caused by earwax blockage and infections can be cured and is known as Temporary Hearing Loss.

In case you come across the following symptoms or signs, it’s time to visit the specialist:

  • Difficulty in listening to the caller when talking on the phone.
  • Unable to understand the conversation if two or more people are talking at the same time.
  • Surrounding noise makes the understanding conversation more difficult.
  • You feel that the other person is talking faintly or they are not talking clearly.
  • You can hear but do not understand what they are saying.

Let us find out about the types of hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss – Most Common Type

Sensorineural Hearing loss or Nerve Loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss due to old age. It is known as Sensorineural as it affects the “Sensory” part which detects sound signals and the “Neural” part which consists of nerves carrying the sound signal. It is permanent in nature. While Temporary Hearing loss is known as Conductive Hearing Loss.

What Are The Causes Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

1. Ageing – The Most Common Cause

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs as part of the ageing process. 90% of all cases of deafness are due to Sensorineural Hearing Loss. In most cases, it starts from around 50 years of age. In the initial stages it is difficult to detect as it is very mild, slowly it increases from mild to moderate. If we do not seek treatment in time, the loss increases to severe, when it is very much noticeable.

2. Hearing Loss Due To Common Diseases

Sensorineural hearing loss is also caused by certain diseases and use of certain medications. The following diseases are known to affect our hearing.

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Chronic Kidney disease (CKD)
  • Obesity
  • Influenza
  • Hypertension
  • Meniere’s syndrome
  • Autoimmune Ear Diseases
  • Viral Diseases
  • Ear infections
  • Head trauma
  • Tumours

To know more about how these diseases are related to hearing loss, click on the Hearing Loss issues link provided towards the beginning of the article.

The degree of hearing loss varies from person to person and is usually linked to one’s health conditions and lifestyle. Genetic inheritance, exposure to high levels of noise and physical accidents may also affect our hearing.

Hearing Loss reduces the quality of life of the affected people. Hearing is one of the important senses as it enables the older people to be totally independent, enjoy their family environment, communicate and maintain social relationships.

It is advisable to seek early treatment as the affected person tend to suffer from depression, cognitive impairment, behavioural and sleep disturbances, decreased social activity, communication problems and other memory disorders.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).

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