Hearing loss increases with age
Hearing loss can’t be seen, so it’s usually noticed as a change in behavior. Family is often the first to realize that their senior is having trouble hearing.
Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis. Slow and steady hearing loss is caused by changes in the inner ear due to aging.
The older someone is, the more likely they are to experience hearing loss:
- Nearly 1 out of 3 people over age 65 have some type of hearing loss.
- In an AARP/ASHA poll of AARP members, 47% of respondents reported having untreated hearing loss.
10 signs of a hearing problem
When an older adult has a hearing problem, you might notice that they frequently ask you to repeat yourself, they keep the TV volume very loud, or they complain that you always mumble.
10 common signs of hearing loss in seniors:
- Having a problem hearing over the telephone
- Having trouble following the conversation when two or more people talk at the same time
- Turning the TV volume up too high
- Straining to understand conversation
- Having trouble hearing in a noisy background, like in a restaurant
- Complaining of dizziness, pain, or ringing in their ears
- Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
- Complaining that other people mumble or don’t speak clearly
- Misunderstanding what people say and not answering in an expected way
- Having trouble understanding when women or children talk
Other signs include a change in personality, like someone who used to be social, but now doesn’t want to spend time around groups of people. Sometimes, symptoms of hearing loss can even be confused with dementia.
Why is it important to treat hearing loss?
If a hearing problem isn’t diagnosed and treated, it can lead to damage in the parts of the brain related to hearing. When nerves don’t get signals, they stop working. It’s like muscles that shrink when you don’t use them.
If you notice signs of hearing loss in your senior, it’s time to talk with their doctor. The doctor can rule out other causes and may set up a professional hearing test.
It’s important to get proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. After all, you don’t want a hearing problem to get worse or to increase the risk of dementia.