More Birthdays & Hearing Loss

Jan 31, 2010 by

Presbycusis, the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most individuals as they age is usually a sensorineural hearing disorder – meaning it is caused by gradual changes in the inner ear typically brought on by repeated exposure to noise. This results in a loss of hair cells (sensory receptors in the inner ear), which can also occur because of various health conditions and certain side effects of some medications (Aspirin and certain antibiotics). Symptoms of presbycusis include difficulty hearing and discerning high pitched sounds, as well as difficulty understanding conversation, hearing others’ speech as mumbled or slurred, and loudness associated with certain sounds. In other words hearing but not understanding. For most people with presbycusis, these symptoms may be overcome with the use of a hearing instrument.
As Helen Keller once remarked, “Loss of vision means losing contact with things, but loss of hearing means losing contact with people.” At any age, hearing loss, if left untreated, can lead to social isolation, frustration and emotional problems and permanent loss of understanding ability. Older people especially, may withdraw from family and friends. This does not go well for their quality of life and longevity. Studies show that a strong social network is critical for living a long, healthy life. Many older people with hearing loss, however, are reluctant to seek help. This is where family and friends may play a helpful role. If you feel that a loved one is irritable and struggling to keep up conversation, you may want to contact one of our offices for help.