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Age Related Hearing Loss: Causes, Symptoms, & Management

Age related hearing loss (presbycusis) is one of the most common types of hearing loss in the world. 

In this blog post, we guide you through the causes, symptoms, prevention, and management of age related hearing loss.

What Is Presbycusis?

Age related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is a type of sensorineural hearing loss (SHL) that naturally occurs as we age.

Approximately one in three people aged over 65 are affected by some form of hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), "nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74, and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss."

To combat the onset of presbycusis, hearing aids help tackle mild to moderate impairments head on.

What Causes Presbycusis?

Sometimes called "nerve deafness", age related deafness is primarily the result of something we cannot control and that is ageing.

The inner ear hair cells are what is most at risk. These hair cells are tiny structures within the cochlea of the inner ear and play an important role in transferring incoming sound waves to the nerves responsible for hearing. The process of getting older is what causes this to diminish. Damage to these hair cells can be due to the body’s natural ageing processes, and hearing loss can result due to the incapability of the body to grow new and replace compromised cells. Besides the nerve or hair cells damage, presbycusis can result from changes in the structure of the inner ear or insufficient and impaired blood flow to the ear.

Sometimes, as we get older, certain aspects of our senses naturally deteriorate. There is not always a lot we can do, other than to manage it properly.

What are the symptoms of Age Related Hearing Loss?

The severity of the symptoms may vary from one person to the next. As with any medical condition, one, or many symptoms may be present.

You may notice the following situations:

  • Sounds seem less clear
  • Difficulty in hearing people around you in noisy environments
  • Background noise may appear too loud compared to the actual speech
  • Not being able to hear the telephone or doorbell ringing when others can
  • Other people may sound mumbled or slurred
  • Inability to hear high-pitched sounds such as "s" and "th"
  • Often having to ask people to repeat what they said
  • A necessity to have the television or radio turned up much higher than other family members find comfortable
  • Feeling tired after participating in a conversation held within background noise

If you do experience any of the above, we highly recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional or audiologist for a proper medical examination.

Test For Hearing Loss Online For Free

There are several steps that can help you determine whether you are suffering from hearing loss.

First, it is advisable to watch out for any of the above-mentioned symptoms, especially if they occur regularly. If in doubt, you can first check your hearing with the help of our free online hearing test.

age related hearing loss

These quick and painless tests will measure your responses to sounds of varying tones and help provide an approximate indication of any present hearing loss. Of course, for a really accurate and detailed check, it is highly advisable to visit your audiologist, as soon as you begin to experience any difficulties hearing.

How To Properly Manage Presbycusis

Some aspects of hearing loss are medically treatable (e.g. hearing loss due to wax blockage in the ear canal) and can be fully cured, in cases where the right measures are taken in time.

presbycusis HD 250 Digital Hearing Aid

Presbycusis, however, is a form of SHL which is, in fact, a permanent hearing loss. There is no official cure or treatment to restore hearing. But, there are ways to amplify sounds to enhance your ability to hear, such as digital hearing aids. For example, the HD 250 is one of our most popular devices. It is incredibly discreet and comes packed with all the essential features to effectively manage hearing loss. It is ready to wear on arrival and you do not need the go-ahead or prescription from a medical professional - just order online.

Other types of hearing loss, whether irreversible or very mild,  can be managed with specifically designed devices such as:

A straightforward hearing assessment will help identify any hearing impairment and a health professional will be able to recommend the correct treatment plan for you.

Can I Prevent Age Related Hearing Loss?

Although you can expect to experience a certain level of hearing loss as you age, you can attempt to  successfully delay the process by avoiding several unhealthy habits:

  • Smoking
  • Listening to loud music with headphones or earbuds – it is important to avoid continuous exposure to loud noises.
  • Intake of medications that might contribute to hearing loss.
  • An unhealthy diet that can lead to diabetes, excessive weight, high blood pressure and heart problems.
  • An inactive lifestyle

What are the Dangers of Unmanaged Age Related Hearing loss?

The main problem with age related hearing loss is that it usually progresses with time quite slowly and the opportunity to take control of the condition while still in its mild form is often missed. If the problem is ignored and its severity increases, it can seriously affect the sufferer’s social life and communication with others and lead to unpleasant situations not only for them but family and friends as well. Such troubles can further evolve in serious conditions such as depression and loss of self-confidence, as well as constant feelings of anxiety, frustration, and inadequacy.

How Can Hearing Direct Help?

At Hearing Direct, we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. We supply a broad choice of amplified devices, hearing aid batteries, and hearing aid accessories.

If you have any age related hearing loss queries, get in touch and our expert team will do their best to assist you.

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