The one constant in life is change. We can all bear witness to this, especially as we age. The golden years bring a mix of different types of changes in our social, mental, and physical health.
In this post, we will discuss hearing issues because hearing loss is not only a physical issue. It can also have a huge impact in the way we communicate and feel about ourselves, which influences our social and emotional wellbeing.
Age-related hearing loss, also known as Presbycusis occurs when one has trouble hearing or being able to discriminate sounds in their older years. Sometimes it may begin gradually such that we may not even notice it at first. But if one is unable to hear high-pitched noises, or you have to turn up the volume of the TV so loud that others complain, or you frequently have to ask people to speak more slowly and louder to hear them, those may just be subtle hints that you need to pay more attention to your hearing.The inability to hear high-pitched noises is subtle sign of age-related hearing loss. Click To Tweet
Recent studies have revealed that nearly half of those aged 70 and above experience significant hearing impairment. Let’s take a close look at the various factors that contribute to impaired hearing in older adults—and what you can do to prevent it.
Factors that influence hearing issues
Exposure to loud noise
Loud noise is the primary cause of noise-induced hearing loss. If you have been constantly exposed to intense noise for a long time, perhaps as a result of the kind of occupation you were engaged in, there’s a good possibility that you could experience hearing issues in your later years.
Genetics play a role in many hearing disorders, and since genes cannot be changed, prevention is a crucial part of the equation especially when there’s a history of hearing disorders in your family line. Wearing hearing protection and avoiding exposure to loud noises will help reduce the likelihood of hearing loss regardless of a family predisposition to it.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension can have a negative impact on hearing, particularly in older adults. Diseases that affect blood flow, like diabetes and hypertension, can damage the tiny blood vessels inside the ear and lead to hearing loss. You can prevent the onset of hearing loss by properly managing blood pressure and diabetes.Wearing hearing protection and avoiding exposure to loud noises helps to reduce the likelihood of hearing loss. Click To Tweet
After-effects of prolonged use of some medications
Drugs are usually administered to treat certain ailments, but a good number of them also cause side effects, some of which are hearing loss and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Can you take a moment to imagine what would happen if one takes one or more of such drugs for an extended period of time? It would most likely take a negative toll on our ears.
Tips to prevent hearing loss in older adults
Although many age-related hearing disorders can’t be prevented, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of hearing loss. Some of these are:
- Avoid loud noise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly
- Wear hearing protection in noisy environments
Hearing loss is a natural part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. The key is to adopt a healthy lifestyle early-on to minimize its effects. Be sure to protect your hearing and speak up if you’re concerned about it. Seek help from an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist and ensure you use hearing aids if necessary. Refuse to live in denial like many do, because hearing problems left untreated and ignored usually deteriorate to a far worse state that may be difficult to remedy.