By Barbara Fradkin – Hometown News
Reader Question: My husband says I’m hard of hearing, because I watch tv with the volume up and sometimes ask him to repeat himself. Is he right?
Answer: Losing your hearing can have a huge impact on your quality of life. The National Institute on Aging describes hearing loss as “a common problem caused by noise, aging, disease and heredity.” People with hearing loss may find it hard to have conversations with friends and family. Apart from the social aspect, they also may have trouble understanding a doctor’s advice, responding to warnings and hearing doorbells and alarms. Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. It affects one in three people age 65-74 and nearly half of people 75 and older in the United States.
What are some signs of hearing loss? Sandra Wagner, owner of Personal Hearing Solutions in Viera, explains, “Someone with hearing loss may find it difficult to hear over the phone or follow a conversation with more than one person. They usually ask other people to repeat themselves– a lot. They may watch tv at a high volume and have extra trouble understanding women or children. Very often people with hearing loss have a hard time in busy restaurants and think that others mumble or don’t speak clearly.”
Two general categories of hearing loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss- this is usually permanent and occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve.
Conductive hearing loss- this can usually be restored, and occurs when earwax buildup, fluid, or a punctured eardrum prevent sound waves from reaching the inner ear.
Other types of hearing loss:
Sudden Hearing Loss– a rapid loss of hearing or sudden deafness. Treat this as a medical emergency.
Age related hearing loss (Presbycusis) – this comes on gradually as a person gets older and usually affects both ears equally. The onset can be so slow that the person may not realize the loss.
Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears) – this is very common and usually accompanies other types of hearing loss. Sufferers describe it as buzzing, clicking, hissing or even roaring. Tinnitus can be a sign of other health issues, like high blood pressure or diabetes, or a side effect to some medications.
As we age, our senses become less sharp. Beginning at age 50, a yearly base line hearing test with a hearing professional can help you detect changes to your hearing. You don’t want to miss out on the little things in life. They bring us so much joy– at any age.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751- 6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com. Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.