Statistically we all begin to lose our hearing when we are in our 40s. One adult in five and more than half of all people over the age of 80 suffer from hearing loss. However, more than half of the hearing impaired population are of working age.
Symptoms of age-related hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss is called Presbyacusis. Most people with Age-related hearing loss/Presbyacusis first experience a decline in their ability to hear high frequency sounds.
Speech contains high frequency sounds, so the first signs of Age-related hearing loss / Presbyacusis may be difficulty hearing what people say to you. The speech sounds with the highest frequencies are the consonants, such as s, t, k, p and f.
Another indicator of age-related hearing loss is that men's voices sound clearer than women's voices, while it is generally difficult to hear in noisy environments. Voices can sound mumbled and slurred and you can experience a ringing in your ears, headaches, vision changes and dizziness. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor. They can tell you about the different forms of treatment for age-related hearing loss.
Treatment of age-related hearing loss
There is no cure for Presbyacusis, but there are a number of things you can do to help yourself maintain a normal life.
In many cases, hearing aids can help. You can also get telephone amplifiers and other assistive devices. As well as this, many find it helpful to learn sign language and lip reading or other visual cues to aid communication.
Causes of age-related hearing loss
Presbyacusis / Age-related hearing loss can be hereditary, according to several studies. Environmental factors are also known to cause this condition. For instance, repeated exposure to loud noises is proved to have an impact on Age-related hearing loss / Presbyacusis.
Smokers are also more likely to develop Presbyacusis / age-related hearing loss while certain medical conditions and medications can contribute to the diagnosis.
Your doctor can perform a complete physical exam in order to rule out medical conditions that can cause hearing loss.