10 Common Signs of Hearing Loss in Seniors

hearing loss in seniors

Hearing loss is common in seniors

Hearing loss can’t be seen, so it’s usually noticed as a change in behavior.

You might notice that your older adult frequently asks you to repeat yourself, keeps the TV volume very loud, or complains that you always mumble.

If you notice these or other signs of hearing loss, it’s important to visit the doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

After all, untreated hearing problems increase the risk of dementia.

We explain what causes hearing loss, why treating hearing loss is important for brain health, and share the 10 most common signs of hearing loss to help you spot it early.




What causes hearing loss in seniors

Health conditions and hearing damage from loud sounds can cause hearing loss.

However, the older someone is, the more likely they are to experience age-related hearing loss called presbycusis

It’s a slow and steady hearing loss that’s caused by changes in the inner ear due to aging.

About one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and almost half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.


Treating hearing loss prevents brain damage

If a hearing problem isn’t diagnosed and treated, it can lead to damage in the parts of the brain related to hearing.

There are 3 main theories for why hearing loss is linked to cognitive decline:

  1. Cognitive load – the brain is too busy trying to hear to focus on memory or thinking
  2. Brain atrophy – unused parts of the brain can waste away
  3. Social isolation – being unable to hear may cause seniors to avoid socializing


10 common signs of hearing loss in seniors

  1. Having a problem hearing over the telephone
  2. Having trouble following the conversation when two or more people talk at the same time
  3. Turning the TV volume up too high
  4. Straining to understand conversation
  5. Having trouble hearing in a noisy background, like in a restaurant
  6. Complaining of dizziness, pain, or ringing in their ears
  7. Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  8. Complaining that other people mumble or don’t speak clearly
  9. Misunderstanding what people say and not answering in an expected way
  10. Having trouble understanding when women or children talk

Other signs of hearing loss in seniors 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.


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Over Sixty


  • Reply June 21, 2021

    bev rife

    My mother is 98 years old with dementia. She wears hearing aids. She says she still can’t hear. My question is, Does her hear worsen as she ages.. Is it the hearing aids or the dementia? I think she just doesn’t understand. I’ve taken her to get her ears checked and they just want me to keep buying hearing aids.

    • Reply June 21, 2021


      It’s possible that her hearing aids aren’t properly adjusted so they aren’t helping her to hear. But it’s also possible that she’s having trouble understanding or responding due to her dementia.

      This article by Teepa Snow has some helpful explanations for why someone with dementia might seem to have difficulty with hearing (but they could be due to other reasons) – https://teepasnow.com/blog/5-additional-challenging-dementia-behaviors-explained/

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