Struggling to hear is common for older individuals, as research shows that one in three adults over the age of 65 has hearing loss.
If you are concerned that you are experiencing age-related hearing loss, it may be helpful to learn more about the signs and symptoms as well as treatment options that are available.
Causes of Age-Related Hearing Loss
Aging makes it more likely to experience changes to the inner ear and/or the auditory nerve that can affect our hearing. These changes can happen simply due to the natural aging process or due to other factors such as:
- A family history of hearing loss
- Frequent exposure to loud noise
- Medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes
- Head trauma
- Taking medications that can cause damage your ears and cause hearing loss.
Can Age-Related Hearing Loss Be Prevented?
While there is no one sure way to prevent age-related hearing loss, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. These include:
- Using hearing protection devices like earplugs when you know you’re going to be exposed to loud noises.
- Avoid taking ototoxic medications that can damage your ears if other alternatives exist.
- Exercise and eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables to lower your risk of vascular damage that could contribute to hearing loss.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss often comes on gradually, and signs can be hard to notice at first. If you’ve experienced any of the following, consider making an appointment for a hearing test.
- People often sound like they are mumbling
- You have trouble hearing what is being said in places with background noise, like Char Restaurant
- Phone conversations are difficult to follow
- Others have commented on your hearing
How Is Age-Related Hearing Loss Treated?
Hearing aids are the most common treatment for age-related hearing loss. Your audiologist will discuss your options with you as well as factor in your individual needs and lifestyle to find the right pair for you. Older adults who use hearing aids experience better physical, mental and cognitive health than those who leave their hearing loss untreated.
If you have additional questions or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call North Alabama ENT Associates today.