Hearing Loss and Older Adults

Age-related hearing loss, also referred to as Presbycusis, is a hearing loss that is cause by degeneration of the hearing organ over time. This degeneration can be caused by noise, toxic drugs, and diseases or medical conditions over the lifespan. It is common that this hearing loss gradually occurs in most adults as they grow older just through wear and tear. Research in 2017 showed that almost 1 in 2 adults over the age of 65 experience hearing loss to some degree. Also, presbycusis is one of the four leading chronic health conditions experienced by the senior population.

This hearing loss typically affects both ears equally and it progresses from the high pitches of sound to low pitches of sound with ageing. Presbycusis most commonly impacts on high pitches of speech sounds which greatly impairs an individual’s ability to discriminate speech. This degradation in the ability to understand speech becomes even more challenging in noisy and reverberant environments like cafes and restaurants. Tinnitus has also been associated with this hearing loss. This is because as hearing sensitivity decreases, the perception of a ringing or buzzing noise can become more noticeable to the individual. Therefore the tinnitus is perceived as louder as sounds around the individual are perceived as softer or more muffled.

Although age-related hearing loss is not a lifethreatening condition, it can still have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life if it is left unmanaged and untreated. Presbycusis can cause people to withdraw from social situations or limit interactions with family and friends without even noticing that it has to do with the hearing. This can lead to loneliness, isolation or depression as the individual stops communicating with people around them.

Scientists do not currently know how to prevent agerelated hearing loss. Although, noise is a major contributor to hearing loss. This means that if you protect your ears from sounds that are too loud and last too long, you can help to prevent a hearing loss from developing.

It is important to remember that hearing cannot be restored once it is lost. So be aware of potential sources of damaging noise such as firearms, loud music, and power tools. Ensure that you are wearing earplugs or earmuffs if you are exposed to these sounds. Age related hearing loss happens slowly over time and often people are not aware of the change at first. It is important to have regular hearing assessments to understand if your hearing is slowly deteriorating over time.

Many pensioners are not aware that they are entitled to free hearing care through the Australian Government. At EAR STUDIO, pensioners can get access to hearing services without an out-of-pocket cost. This includes free consultations and hearing services to find a solution to your hearing issues as well as free hearing aids that are fitted by qualified professionals in a private clinic. EAR STUDIO is committed to helping you hear the best you can so that you can find joy in conversations and social gatherings. Contact us on 9159 6122 to speak to one of our team members or to make an appointment.