Presbycusis: Hearing Loss In SeniorsPublished On: May 22, 2019
The deterioration of our hearing can be an unfortunate inevitability of growing old. About 25% of people in the United States between the ages of 55 and 64 suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss is almost 1 in 2 for those older than 65.
As we age, one of the most common types of hearing loss we’ll encounter is Presbycusis. Presbycusis occurs gradually over time and in most cases, initially affects our ability to hear higher pitches sounds. As the condition of hearing loss in seniors progresses, it can result in further difficulty hearing sounds at increasingly lower frequencies. Those who suffer from this condition can likely hear speech at a normal sound level, however it sounds quite unclear and mumbled.
What are the symptoms of Presbycusis?
Those who suffer from Presbycusis may experience the following:
- Higher pitched sounds of speech, such as “s” and “th” can sound unclear and indistinct.
- A ringing sound (tinnitus) in one or both ears.
- Confusion may occur distinguishing similarly sounding words from one another, resulting in conversational difficulty.
- Conversations occurring in noisy locations such as cafes, bars or restaurants may be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
What causes Presbycusis?
Presbycusis is a result of the normal aging process on your ears.
- Presbycusis is a form of sensorineural hearing loss.
- Sensorineural hearing impairment can happen if the auditory nerve and/or cochlea are damaged to the point where they are no longer able to accurately transmit electrical signals to the brain.
- This type of hearing loss is almost always permanent as the hair cells in cochlea do not regenerate.
- Noise-induced hearing loss (the result of a one-off exposure to an extremely loud sound or prolonged exposure to a series of loud noises) can increase the effects of Presbycusis, which can result in hearing loss occurring earlier in life.
Can I prevent Presbycusis?
Although Presbycusis can be an unfortunate result of aging, there are things that you can do to protect your hearing in an effort to maintain good hearing health. They include:
- Avoiding loud noises where possible.
- Reducing excessive exposure to consistently noisy environments.
- Wearing ear plugs or special fluid-filled hear muffs in an effort to prevent further damage to your hearing.
Can Presbycusis be treated?
Managing Presbycusis requires a solution tailor made to your specific circumstances. If you think you may be suffering from hearing loss, make an appointment with your doctor who will be able to assess your hearing, and refer you to an audiologist for further screening.
From there, your audiologist will be able to gauge how you are affected by hearing loss (for example, which frequencies affect which ears) and present you with your presbycusis treatment options. Hearing aids are a common recommendation which can greatly improve your overall hearing.
If you’ve been recommended a hearing aid from your audiologist or think it might be the best next step to combat your hearing loss, the team at Best Hearing Aid are ready to help. Feel free to give us a call on (800) 376-6001 to have a chat and discover what hearing aid might be right for you.