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Eye Hear 20/20: The Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

May 10, 2012

Everything you need to know about hearing loss (before it’s too late)

Here at OCLI, we are constantly informing our patients about the many vision changes that can begin to appear throughout their senior years―cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, the need for bifocals, or any number of other vision problems that are just a natural part of growing older. While many of these changes can be uncomfortable and scary, especially for people who have always had 20/20 vision, there are many treatments and procedures available to aid those people who are undergoing significant vision changes as they reach their senior years.

However, vision loss is not the only thing that people need to worry about as they enter their 60s and 70s. Many of our other senses also undergo significant changes as we grow older, and perhaps none more so than our hearing.

Hearing loss in older adults, often diagnosed as presbycusis, is the sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. Depending on the cause, the amount of hearing loss one experiences as they grow older can be mild or severe, and temporary or permanent. In fact, many people who experience hearing loss may not even be fully aware of it, especially if it has happened gradually over time.

Unfortunately, hearing loss can not only affect how well we participate in conversation or listen to the radio. Many physiological studies are now reporting that hearing impairment may also affect our physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral functions.

To help you learn a little bit more about hearing loss, including its causes and symptoms, we have put together some basic information that will help you get a better idea of what your senior years may mean for you hearing:

Causes of Hearing Loss

When it comes to hearing loss in seniors, the most common causes are noise and age. Being exposed to everyday noises such as going to a concert or using a lawn mower can begin to damage the internal structures of the year over time. This can eventually lead to hearing loss when it occurs frequently. The other major culprit of hearing loss is the aging process. Changes in our inner ear begin to take place as we get older, and this can cause a slow by steady loss in hearing.

Other causes of hearing loss could include injury to the ear or head, an ear infection, a ruptured eardrum, viral infections, ototoxic drugs such as aspirin, and even smoking.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

The most common symptoms of hearing loss in older adults include muffled hearing, difficulty hearing what others are saying, having to listen to the television or radio at a higher than normal volume, and avoiding conversation and social interaction.

If you experience any of these symptoms as you begin to enter your senior years, it is important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and past health. If your doctor thinks that you have hearing loss, they can do a number of different hearing test to check how severe your hearing loss may be. They can also recommend hearing devices, such as hearing aids, that can help significantly with noise-induced or age-related hearing loss.

For more information about hearing loss that commonly occurs with the aging process, be sure to view our EyeHear 20/20 page. You can also fill out our complementary Hearing Self Evaluation Test to find out if you exhibit the signs and symptoms of hearing loss. We also offer free hearing evaluations by our hearing specialists for those patients in need of further testing.  Just call our office to schedule at 973-664-7794.  Don’t let your senior years be tainted by vision or hearing loss. Instead, contact us today to find out how we can help make growing older something to look forward to.


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