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Experiencing Hearing Loss1
30% Seniors, Ages 65-74
Almost 50% of Seniors, Ages 75+
While loss of hearing can be considered a normal part of aging, it can be very isolating. Hearing problems may make it difficult to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, respond to safety warnings, hear doorbells and alarms and may even lead to increased falls. If untreated, hearing loss may also lead to depression and withdrawal.
There are many telltale signs of hearing loss in seniors. Watch for these warnings:
There are several types of hearing loss associated with aging. Gradual hearing loss is called presbycusis. Presbycusis is most prominent at high frequencies, although a decrease in hearing across all frequencies sometimes occurs. Equally important, presbycusis may make it difficult to distinguish among different speech sounds.
Another form of hearing loss is tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. It’s often found in those who have worked in noisy environments for extended periods.
If you or a loved one seem to have difficulty hearing, visit an otolaryngologist, or an ear, nose and throat specialist. Together with an audiologist, they can test your hearing and determine treatment options.
You have many choices in listening devices that compensate for lost hearing:
A senior who suffers from hearing loss must focus intently during conversations. If your loved one has hearing loss, you can help by taking the following steps:
Hearing Made Clear, an in-depth resource created by AARP, is a useful guide for understanding the latest research on hearing loss prevention.
Source: 1. National Institutes of Health National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics. Accessed 15 November 2012.