There are many causes of age-related hearing loss. Most commonly, it arises from changes in the inner ear as we age, (known as sensorineural or “nerve deafness”) which is usually followed by additional loss in the mid-ear and outer ear as the years progress usually resulting in a complete inability to hear in unaided conditions by the age of about sixty-five years old in all but a minority of cases who either wear hearing aids or have cochlear implants.
Hearing loss can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, heart conditions or stroke. Certain medications can also lead to deafness if not monitored closely by a doctor and swallowed as directed; this is known as ototoxicity when medication-induced hearing loss occurs from drugs not meant for otologic purposes but which have negative effects on the hearing system including the cochlea and the auditory nerve pathways to the brain, this is mainly important to know when patients stay at a memory care community, it’s essential to always ask the caregiver to monitor all the medication.
Age-related hearing loss most often occurs in both ears, affecting them equally. The effects of age-related changes in the ear also can appear in different combinations for different people: loss of hearing in one frequency or in both; difficulty understanding high-pitched sounds versus low-pitched ones or those intelligibly heard only in the distance as opposed to those overheard by one’s conversation partner at arm’s length away. Hearing loss due to age is much more common than permanent deafness (acquired before one reaches adulthood) and typically affects people in their later years of life over a range of ages between around late 40s to early 80s depending on gender and personal predispositions.
If you know of an elderly who has difficulty hearing, we suggest to visit a Hearing Care Professional to see what solutions are available. Although hearing loss with age is inevitable, there are some steps you can take to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse. 92% of those experiencing some form of hearing impairment are above the age of sixty years old and this can largely be attributed to years of exposure to loud noises. Make sure you get regular physical examinations from your general practitioner as different medical conditions can have an adverse effect on your sense of sound especially as we age and our immune system weakens as we become less active.