Older woman with white hair and glasses sitting in her home

Age-related hearing loss: what you need to know

According to Statistics Canada, 78% of adults aged 60 to 79 have at least slight hearing loss in one or both ears. Given the prevalence of age-related hearing loss, it’s wise to be informed about it.

 

Causes

In most cases, age-related hearing loss is the result of the natural breakdown of hair cells in the inner ear. Alternatively, it can be caused by other age-related changes that affect the eardrum or the bones of the ear.

 

Medical conditions that affect blood circulation, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes can also contribute to age-related hearing loss.

 

Stages

In the first stage of age-related hearing loss, the affected person has difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds, including speech. As a result, they can struggle with understanding what others are saying, especially in loud environments. Since the change is gradual, they themselves may not notice it. In fact, hearing loss is more often noticed by someone’s friends and family members.

 

Eventually, trouble with perceiving speech turns to trouble perceiving a range of other sounds as well. Affected people will also have difficulty determining the origin of sounds. Some individuals with age-related hearing loss also begin to experience dizziness, balance problems and tinnitus, a ringing in the ears.

 

Long-term consequences

Any reduction in one’s ability to hear can have serious negative impacts on their quality of life. Notably, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, reduced income and fewer employment opportunities. Since age-related hearing loss primarily affects seniors, a group already at risk for social isolation, taking steps to mitigate it is crucial.

 

Treatment

If you believe you may have age-related hearing loss, it’s important to seek treatment right away. Your best resources are generally an audiologist and a hearing aid practitioner. An audiologist will be able to diagnose the type and degree of hearing loss, and a hearing aid practitioner will be able to fit you with custom hearing aids.

 

While age-related hearing loss can’t be reversed, hearing aids can go a long way in mitigating the effects. They essentially work by amplifying sound and using the affected individual’s remaining capacity to hear.

 

Quality hearing care in Alberta

In our hearing clinics in Calgary, Lethbridge, High Riverand Grande Prairie, Soundwave Hearing Care provides personalized hearing services for people of all ages. Whether you require a professional hearing evaluation or a custom hearing aid, contact our team today.

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