Hearing loss related to the natural aging processes of the body is a fairly common condition among seniors. Deterioration of hearing can make everyday functioning very difficult, but it is possible to fight it – modern hearing aids are a discreet and effective way to enjoy excellent hearing quality over the years.
From the text you will learn:
- what are the types of hearing loss,
- how is hearing deterioration manifested,
- how to recognize hearing loss in a senior,
- how hearing is treated in the elderly.
Aging increases the risk of developing many diseases typical of old age. Hypertension, diabetes, cataracts , osteoporosis – these are just a few examples of diseases that seniors in our country struggle with. As statistics show, hearing loss is also a big problem among the elderly – it is estimated that deterioration of hearing may affect up to 50% of people over 65, more often in men than in women.
Types of hearing loss
In medical practice, there are three types of hearing loss : sensorineural , conductive and mixed.
- Sensorineural hearing loss – is usually the result of the natural aging processes of the body, as a result of which the hearing cells in the ears disappear. In addition to aging processes, sensorineural hearing loss may be caused, for example, by mechanical injuries to the head, long-term exposure to noise, previous viral infections (e.g. mumps, flu), as well as taking ototoxic drugs.
- Conductive hearing loss – is caused by changes in the external auditory canal (middle ear or eardrum). These changes, in turn, may be the result of obstruction of the ear canal with earwax or a foreign body, the presence of tumors in the ear canal, otitis or mechanical injuries of the eardrum.
- Mixed hearing loss – characterized by both the presence of changes in the external auditory canal and the loss of hair cells.
Hearing loss – symptoms
The first symptoms of hearing loss may appear in people in their 40s, but they do not have to be alarming right away. Rarely, there is a sudden deterioration of hearing – these are gradual, slow changes, progressing with age. At first, the patient has trouble listening to the radio or television at the same volume level as before. There are also problems with hearing and understanding speech, initially in noise, later also in neutral conditions. Over time, the problems worsen, and the senior may completely give up watching TV and listening to the radio or have trouble with basic matters (shopping, visiting the post office or office).
Hearing loss – what tests?
Deteriorating hearing should always prompt you to see a doctor – the tests and quick diagnosis allow you to introduce appropriate methods of hearing treatment . Thanks to this, the senior can still function independently and efficiently in the society. Depending on individual indications, basic tests may be performed in the form of a reed test, total audiometry or speech audiometry, as well as specialist tests, e.g. tympanometry or otoacoustic emission.
Hearing aids – a method of treating hearing loss
A diagnosed hearing loss does not mean that a senior has to come to terms with the gradual deterioration of his hearing . Hearing aids are a modern and effective method of treatment – small, discreet devices that can extract and strengthen human speech from the perceived sounds, as well as reduce noise, improving the daily functioning of a senior.
The hearing aid must be tailored to the individual needs of the patient. There are many types of this type of device: BTEs and Earbuds, Analog and Digital. These basic models are reimbursed by the National Health Fund, so they are within the reach of every senior citizen.