Age-related hearing loss or Presbycusis can occur gradually as you grow older. It is actually one of the most common conditions for older people. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 75 have hearing loss. Over 75 years of age and the numbers increase, nearly half of adults in this age group have a form of hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss often occurs in both ears, even affecting them equally. It is commonly caused by natural changes in the inner ear as we age. Some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can also play a role. Presbycusis starts small and continues to worsen over time.
You may not notice the early signs of age-related hearing loss. At first, you may just need to turn the television volume on louder or maybe you miss the doorbell or have trouble talking on the telephone. As your hearing loss goes untreated, you start to miss parts of conversations especially in places with competing noises. You may even start to notice that your family and friends show signs of frustration when they are speaking with you as communication becomes more difficult.
The longer you wait to address hearing loss the harder it becomes for you and your auditory system. When the brain has less sound simulation it starts to lose its processing power. The longer hearing loss goes untreated the more sounds disappear. On top of that, when you do finally get help, the treatment process takes longer as the brain has more ground to make up.
Luckily, you can be proactive about managing and confronting age-related hearing loss. It all starts with a hearing test to form a baseline. Your hearing care professional will then evaluate you test results, hearing health and lifestyle factors and provide recommendations for future follow ups.