February 26, 2024

Age-Related Hearing Loss is Often Untreated

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Are you having a hard time hearing? Age-related hearing loss is a common concern among adults. You may start to notice changes in your hearing health in your 40s or 50s, and by the time you retire, you have a high chance of having some hearing loss. This hearing loss can affect your quality of life as well as your overall health and wellbeing. So why is it that age-related hearing loss is often untreated?

What Is Age-Related Hearing Loss?

First, let’s talk about age-related hearing loss. Another name for age-related hearing loss is presbycusis. This kind of hearing loss affects many older adults. As you age, you’ll notice changes in your physical abilities. You may have a harder time climbing the stairs and you may have less energy than you used to. Age-related hearing loss is the same. Over time your ears experience some normal wear and tear from a lifetime of hearing. In fact, some of the cells in your inner ear can be damaged or die. When this happens, your ears don’t hear all the sounds around you, and your brain doesn’t get information about all the sounds in your environment. Once these cells have been damaged, they can’t be repaired, and you’ll experience permanent age-related hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss is more common than you think. Many older adults notice some changes in their hearing abilities, and half of seniors have hearing loss. Unfortunately, many people don’t treat their hearing loss! Age-related hearing loss is often undiagnosed and untreated.

Recognizing the Signs of Age-Related Hearing Loss

There are several signs of age-related hearing loss. Be on the lookout for these signs in yourself or a loved one:

  • Difficulty hearing in places with a lot of background noise
  • Having a hard time hearing someone speaking from across the room
  • Asking people to repeat themselves in person and on the phone
  • Turning up the volume on the TV to try to hear what’s being said
  • Missing soft sounds, like your alarm clock or the stove timer
  • Not hearing quiet sounds in your environment, like birds chirping, or someone talking outside

Did you know that age-related hearing loss is usually first noticed by a friend or family member? This hearing loss can be very gradual, so you might not notice it right away. If you have a loved one mention that you’re not hearing clearly, take it seriously. This could be your first sign that you have age-related hearing loss.

What Happens When You Live with Untreated Hearing Loss?

In the past, older adults didn’t treat their hearing loss. People thought of hearing loss as being inconvenient, but they didn’t realize just how much hearing loss would affect them. Hearing loss can lead to a number of very negative health outcomes. For example, when you can’t hear clearly, you use a lot of energy straining to hear the sounds around you. When you use all that energy just to hear, you don’t have energy left over to do your work or enjoy your free time. Untreated hearing loss can also make it impossible to maintain your social life. We need to be able to hear clearly to have meaningful conversations with loved ones. People with hearing loss have a hard time following conversations, especially in noisy places like a restaurant or bar. If you have hearing loss, you may find yourself choosing to stay at home, so you don’t need to ask people to repeat themselves. You may feel lonely, or even deal with social isolation or depression.

Treating Age-Related Hearing Loss

Are you ready to treat your age-related hearing loss? Set an example for your friends and loved ones by investing in your hearing health. A quality pair of hearing aids will help you hear in every situation, from watching TV at home to enjoying dinner with friends. Today’s hearing aids have a number of advanced programs and features to help you hear. You can use background noise reduction and speech enhancement to follow conversations easily. You can even get rechargeable hearing aids, or hearing devices that can stream audio from your phone right to your devices. Learn more about age-related hearing loss and explore your treatment options by contacting us today!

Dr. Teague earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hearing, Speech and Language from Ohio University and his Doctoral Degree in Audiology from The University of Louisville. He is an active member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Board of Audiology.

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