According to the National Institute on Aging, around a third of people aged 65 to 74 have some degree of hearing loss. For adults aged 75 and over, the rate is around 50%. If you're an older adult dealing with hearing loss or wondering about the potential for it, education is important. Learning about causes of hearing loss can help you protect this function as much as possible, and keeping up with treatments can help you live with hearing loss long term.
Age is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Natural hearing loss that occurs with age is called presbycusis, and it typically occurs slowly over a long period of time. It also tends to impact both ears similarly and may be hereditary to some degree. Presbycusis can make it hard for you to hear what others are saying, particularly in noisy environments, or tolerate loud sounds.
If you experience sudden hearing loss or issues with only one of your ears, that can be one sign that you're dealing with something other than age-related hearing loss. Some other causes of hearing issues include:
If you're experiencing hearing loss, it may just be a natural part of the aging process. But, as you can see, it may also be a sign of something else. Talk to your doctor about your concerns so they can check your ears, rule out any other issues and help you get potential help hearing better.
Individuals with hearing loss can face a number of challenges, ranging from communication issues to reduced quality of life. Some issues you might face if you're dealing with hearing loss that isn't treated can include:
Many of these challenges can be met with options for treating or living with hearing loss.
Start by being open about your hearing woes. It's a common issue and there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Most people would rather know you have an issue with hearing so they can accommodate it — that's good for them too, because it improves their communication with you. Some things you can do include:
You can also invest in technology to help reduce the impact of hearing loss. Some options can include:
The first step in combating hearing issues at any age is admitting that you're dealing with them. Then, talk to your medical provider or a staff member at your assisted living community about what next steps might be appropriate for you.