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Help with hearing loss

Think about your daily life, each part of it is shaped by communication with others. We are constantly sharing information with those around us, making it extremely important. A big part of communication involves hearing. With age, we experience a gradual drop in hearing which affects our ability to communicate with others in the world around us. If we do not get help with our hearing loss, this lack of communication can then result in a poorer quality of life. It is important that older adults seek help with their hearing loss. In most cases, hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids.

Increase in life expectancy

In recent times, life expectancy has been on the rise. This means that people are living longer than they used to. This also means that there are more older adults in the population. These older adults are likely to experience hearing loss related to ageing. There is a larger population with this type of hearing loss in older age and it has never been more important for them to get help with their hearing loss. Being aware of the effect that this loss has on their quality of life is important. Because they are living longer, it is important for older adults to get help with their hearing loss to ensure that they have the best quality of life possible. One thing that can help with hearing loss is hearing aids.

Hearing loss in older adults

Natural aging causes permanent changes in the inner ear (cochlea) leading to a gradual and equal drop in hearing in both ears over time. The hearing loss worsens with time. This hearing loss is called presbycusis. Presbycusis mostly affects the higher pitch sounds in the beginning. Fine speech sounds that make up the beginnings and ends of words like ‘s’, ‘sh’, and ‘f’s are high in pitch. These sounds provide speech clarity and so hearing loss in this region results in issues with clarity of speech if you do not get help with your hearing loss. People with this hearing loss may be aware that someone is speaking but not quite make out what they are saying, mishear what they are saying, or ask for repeats. Women’s and children’s voices are also high in pitch and so people with this hearing loss often report issues hearing females and children. Because it happens gradually, people may not be aware that they have a hearing loss and so do not actively seek help with their hearing loss. However, people around them may have commented on their hearing. A common complaint from significant others is related to the TV volume being too loud. There is help available for people with hearing loss. Hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids which can allow you to hear these sounds again.

Signs of hearing loss in older adults

People with hearing loss which has developed gradually over time may not realise the extent of their hearing problem and not want to get help with their hearing loss. This is because they have developed coping strategies or have not been hearing well for so long that they don’t remember what it is like to have normal hearing. There are many signs of hearing loss. It is important to be aware of early signs so that you can seek help with your hearing loss early on for the best outcomes to occur. Some common signs include:

    • People sounding like they are ‘mumbling’.
    • Trouble hearing high pitch sounds (e.g. women’s and children’s voices).
    • Mishearing things.
    • Asking for repeats.
    • Turning up the TV louder than others.
    • Difficulty in noise.
    • Sounds in the ears (e.g. ringing or buzzing).

If you or those around you have noticed that you experience any of the signs above, it is possible that you may have a hearing loss. It is important to get your hearing tested (as with any other health check) to determine whether there is a hearing loss present. In most cases hearing aids are an option and can and do help with hearing loss and make it easier to hear during daily communication. The goal of amplification is to reduce the difficulties mentioned above.

Auditory deprivation & the importance of getting help with your hearing loss

Older adults are usually hesitant about going ahead with hearing aids for many reasons and often put off getting help with their hearing loss until years later. Early intervention with hearing aids is although very important as a thing called auditory deprivation can occur. When there is a hearing loss present that is left untreated, there are changes that occur in the brain. A part of the brain is no longer being stimulated by sound. The longer the brain remains unstimulated the less efficient it is in processing sound and some of the pathways if not ‘exercised’ will be lost. Think of the brain as a muscle, if you do not exercise your muscles they will waste away. So when you go to use those muscles again, it will be difficult. The ear, brain, and hearing are similar. So when you finally do go ahead with hearing aids the pathways are no longer working optimally and the brain will not be processing sound as efficiently as it once did. Therefore, you may not get the best outcomes with hearing aids and hearing may be difficult even when aided. It is important that you take action early and get your hearing tested to have the best chance of getting help with your hearing loss.

How does hearing loss impact quality of life & what can help with hearing loss?

Because speech and hearing are important to sharing information during daily communication, hearing loss will have an impact on how we communicate with others. This then can impact your quality of life or wellbeing if you do not get help with your hearing loss.

Although hearing loss is more widely understood and accepted today, a stigma around hearing loss remains as it is invisible. Older people may feel they do not want to get help with their hearing loss as hearing loss is something that affects ‘old’ people and they do not want to be identified in this way. This means they delay getting hearing aids to help with their hearing loss. This then leads to:

    • Social isolation/withdrawal – They may avoid social outings with family and friends.
    • Anxiety and depression – Loss of hearing can lead to anxiety in social situations as the person may fear that they have misheard important information.
    • Fractured relationships – Relationships with significant others can also suffer as significant others may be tired of repeating themselves and arguments can occur.
    • Low self-esteem/confidence – People with hearing loss may develop issues with self-esteem/confidence as they are embarrassed that they do not hear well.

You can get help with your hearing loss. Hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids. By treating the hearing loss you will be less likely to experience the issues mentioned above and you will have an improved quality of life.

In summary, people are living longer and so there is a large population of older adults. A natural part of ageing is hearing loss. There are a number of signs of hearing loss to be aware of. It is important to get help with your hearing loss early on as auditory deprivation may occur. Getting help with your hearing loss by getting fitted with hearing aids with a qualified Audiologist early will ensure the best outcomes. If left untreated, hearing loss can significantly reduce the quality of life of older adults. Hearing aids can help with hearing loss and improve quality of life. It is important that you contact your nearest local Audiologist at Attune Hearing for an assessment today and get help with your hearing loss.

Published at: Recent Health Articleshttp://recenthealtharticles.org

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