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
Age-related hearing loss is called presbycusis. This 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.
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:
- Cognitive load – the brain is too busy trying to hear to focus on memory or thinking
- Brain atrophy – unused parts of the brain can waste away
- Social isolation – being unable to hear may cause seniors to avoid socializing
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 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.
Recommended for you:
- Treating Hearing Loss Reduces Dementia Risk
- Seniors with Hearing Loss Stay Connected with Free Caption Phones
- Affordable Hearing Aid Alternatives for Seniors: Hearing Amplifiers
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Over Sixty