Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hearing Loss and Aging

Hearing loss often occurs later in life.  One out of three people over age 60 have hearing loss, and one out of two people over age 85 are affected.  Hearing loss related to age is called presbycusis.  This is a permanent hearing loss.  Medications and surgery cannot restore this kind of hearing problem.  Presbycusis results from:

Changes to the structures of the inner ear
Reduced blood flow to the inner ear
The deterioration of hearing nerves and  
Changes in how the brain processes speech

Presbycusis usually is a gradual decrease in hearing for high-pitches.  These changes are subtle, slowly muffling words.  This causes difficulty hearing female voices, children’s voices, and when in noisy places.  Presbycusis is increased by other factors such as diabetes, poor circulation, kidney disease, noise exposure, and certain medications. 

Age-related hearing loss is treated with hearing aids. Modern hearing aids are digital microcomputers that automatically adjust thousands of times per second, making speech comfortable and more natural.  The side effects of hearing loss, isolation, withdrawal, anger, frustration, and communication breakdowns can be helped with hearing aids.  Those who do not seek hearing help experience a decrease in overall quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can lead to further decrease in word understanding, sadness, depression, anxiety, paranoia, reduced social activity and poor relationships.

May is designated Better Hearing Month to raise awareness of hearing loss and its effects on quality of life.  If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty hearing, feel people mumble,  have ringing in the ears or other ear symptoms, now is a great time to call an audiologist and schedule a hearing evaluation.   Don’t wait.  

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

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Mentor, Ohio 44060
Fax: 440-205-9818

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