Why does our hearing deteriorate as we get older?
What is age-related hearing loss?
It’s commonly known that our hearing deteriorates as we get older. Hearing loss that gradually develops as we get older is called Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss.
According to the charity Action on Hearing Loss (formally known as the RNID), it is estimated at least 7 out of 10 people of over 70 years of age that experience some form of hearing loss in the UK. As a result, age-related hearing loss is one of the most common issues that affects older and elderly adults in the UK.
How does age-related hearing loss happen?
There can be many reasons as to why exactly age-related hearing loss occurs as we get older.
One of the key factors is due to the tiny hair cells within the ear. These hairs help transmit sound waves to the cochlea and onwards to the brain. When these cells get damaged or die, the harder it is for the sound waves to be transmitted. Age-related hearing loss will normally be as a result of wear and tear to these hair cells over time.
Another factor that can cause hearing loss is exposure to noise, in particular, loud noise or long-term exposure to noise. Although noise-induced hearing loss can affect anyone at any age, a combination of noise and age can also take its toll.
Throughout our lifetimes, we are exposed to millions sounds, some quiet and some loud enough to cause damage. Damage to the ear as a result of noise exposure can also cause the hair cells the die, resulting in difficulty transmitting sound to the brain. This is when the hearing loss occurs.
What can be done about age-related hearing loss?
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing any form of hearing loss, it is best to take a hearing test by a hearing care professional or Audiologist. If you are over the age of 55, it is recommended you take a hearing test every year as part of a full health check-up. Just as you would your teeth or eye sight.
Getting your hearing tested sooner rather than later is important and there maybe a simple way to help make your life easier.
An Audiologist will be able to help you by giving you the advice you need and hearing loss and any hearing aids that you may benefit from using.
What are the solutions for age-related hearing loss
There’s no cure or major treatment for age-related hearing loss but there are solutions available. Hearing aids can be beneficial to those who are experiencing most types of hearing loss. There are many types, models and levels of technology available, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find a hearing aid to suit your budget and lifestyle.
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