According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about a third of all American adults between the ages of 65 and 70 have hearing loss; this number increases to one in two for those over the age of 75. Have you ever wondered why this is? We will explore the reasons below.
Importance of Hair Cells
Within the inner ear are delicate hear cells. These hairs are responsible for converting soundwaves into electrical impulses, which are then passed through the auditory nerve to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.
These hair cells can be easily damaged by exposure to loud noises. They do not regrow or regenerate, making any damage permanent. Hearing loss caused by damage to these hair cells or to the auditory nerve is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, known medically as presbycusis, is mostly commonly the result of sensorineural hearing loss. For most, this means their hearing loss develops gradually over a period of years. Because of this, you may not notice you are missing certain sounds until long after they are gone.
Being aware of the common signs of hearing loss can help you identify hearing loss quickly. Common symptoms include:
- Thinking other people are mumbling or slurring their speech
- Having a hard time understanding conversations, especially when there is background noise
- Thinking certain sounds seem overly loud or annoying
- Having difficulty hearing higher pitched sounds
- Finding it easier to hear men’s voices than those of women and children
- Experiencing tinnitus
Hearing Loss Treatment
There is no cure for age-related hearing loss, but there are treatment options available.
Hearing aids are the most common method of treatment and can benefit those with mild to moderately severe hearing loss. There are a number of types and styles of hearing aids on the market; your audiologist will work with you to determine the best one for your unique degree of hearing loss.
Cochlear implants are recommended for adults with severe to profound hearing loss who cannot benefit from the use of hearing aids. This treatment requires surgery to implant the device.
Assistive listening devices can be used alone or in addition to hearing aids to amplify sounds. To learn more about age-related hearing loss or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, contact Columbia Hearing Centers today.