Age-related hearing loss occurs gradually for some people as they grow old. Age-related hearing loss begins with partial deafness. At times, it might even lead to complete deafness at a very later stage. This problem occurs in both the ears and affects them equally. You might not even realize that you are suffering from the condition since it happens gradually and slowly.
There are a lot of causes for age-related deafness. One of the causes would be the effect of some other medical conditions. With age, the inner structure of the ears can change or the nerves in the ear may get impaired, or the blood flow to the ear might drop, or the tiny hairs in the ear might get damaged, or the brain might process speech differently. All of these or one of these can lead to hearing loss in the senior years.
Your genes could also play a part as well as prolonged exposure to loud noise in the early years. Some medicines such as cancer medicines or chemotherapy can also affect hearing. Here are a few signs that can help you realize that you might be suffering from hearing loss due to age.
- Difficulty in hearing people around you
- Constantly asking people to repeat themselves
- Being irritated for not being able to hear properly
- Problems in telling apart the “s” and the “the” sounds
- Certain sounds become overwhelming or too loud for you
- Discomfort in loud areas
You can test your hearing abilities with the help of an otoscope. You should go to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor since they can diagnose the problem in the right manner and suggest the appropriate treatment. There is no particular cure for age-related hearing loss. However, the treatment usually focuses on improving the everyday functioning of the ears. These might involve –
- Wearing hearing aids
- Learning sign language (for people who are completely deaf)
- Using telephone amplifiers that boost the sound
- Learning lip reading
All these treatments are helpful and can make your hearing a little better.