Hearing Loss in Older Adults: Things You Definitely Need to Know



Hearing loss in older adults is a common condition as 1 in 2 adults over the age of 65 experience some form of hearing loss. Often, people are unaware that they are affected by presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). This happens because the condition develops gradually.

As individuals grow older, the effect of presbycusis starts to occur, which affects the ability to hear high-pitched noises like the ringing of a phone. In this condition, low-pitched noises are rarely affected. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine 1 in 3 adults older than the age of 65 has presbycusis. This condition is not life-threatening, but it may affect an individual's daily life.

What Are the Causes of Age-Related Hearing Loss?

As age-related hearing loss develops gradually, you may see parallels between it and other medical conditions. But hearing loss mostly occurs due to the changes in the following:

  • Structures of the inner ear
  • Structures within the middle ear
  • Alterations in blood flow to the ear
  • Damage to the tiny hairs in the ears responsible for transmitting sound to the brain

There are also other issues that can lead to age-related hearing loss. They include:

  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Usage of certain drugs or medications

Early Signs and Symptoms of Age-Related Hearing Loss

Age-related hearing loss symptoms vary from person to person. Here are a few symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Having difficulty hearing the voices of those around you
  • Not being able to understand conversations over a telephone
  • Some sounds seem overly loud and annoying
  • Ringing sound (tinnitus) may occur in one or both ears
  • Background noises can hinder your hearing

How Can Hearing Loss Be Improved in the Elderly?

Although there are no cures for hearing loss in the elderly, the condition can still be treated. If you are diagnosed with presbycusis, your audiologist may help in improving your hearing and quality of life. The treatment you receive will be determined by your symptoms, age, and overall health. It will also depend on the severity of the problem.

Treatment options for presbycusis include:

  • Hearing Aids
  • Assistive devices like telephone amplifiers
  • Training to use sign language or lip reading

How Can You Prevent Hearing Loss in the Elderly?

The most important step to preventing hearing loss is to protect your hearing. Below are some of the steps you should take to prevent hearing loss in the elderly:

  • Maintain a safe volume level for earbuds and headsets
  • Avoid loud noises and limit your noise exposure
  • Avoid smoking
  • Receive timely treatment for health issues such as ear infections
  • Use earplugs or earmuffs to prevent further damage to hearing

Hearing loss is one of the conditions affecting many older adults. Seek help from an audiologist if you notice signs of hearing loss in elderly loved ones. Book an appointment with our leading audiologist, Dr. Chris Hoffmann, today at Hoffman Audiology. A series of tests will be performed to determine how much hearing has been lost. She will then go over the results with you and, if necessary, prescribe the best hearing aids for you.

Contact us today at 949-536-5180 to book a hearing test. We are committed to assisting you with the best treatment required for your ears.


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Chris Lin Hoffmann

Dr. Chris Hoffmann is an audiologist who has been involved in hearing sciences for over 20 years. Her passion for helping people with their hearing led her to establish Hoffmann Audiology hearing clinic. Dr. Hoffmann has more than 14 years of clinical knowledge in hearing testing, hearing aid fittings, and aural rehabilitation.

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