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What is age-related hearing loss and what you need to know

Age-related hearing loss is a normal process which involves the gradual loss of hearing as you get older, usually affecting those above the age of 65. It is thought that 1 in 3 adults experience some form of hearing loss between the age of 65 and 74, and after this threshold, the number of adults with hearing loss symptoms increases to around half. It may feel embarrassing to admit you are experiencing symptoms, as it is one of those cursed signifiers of aging. However, it is important that sufferers seek the correct help and treatment as a lot of the time their symptoms can be easily resolved, and they can prevent their hearing from eventually getting worse.

Causes and symptoms

 Inside our ears, exists many tiny hair cells which translate soundwaves into sound. There is a direct connection between these hair cells and the brain, as they help the brain to interpret what the sound means. Unfortunately, if these become damaged, they cannot grow back and therefore when harmed, individuals can permanently damage their hearing.

One of the most common causes is exposure to too much noise. This may occur at work if you are employed at a building site, for example, or if you have a history of listening to loud music at events or through earbuds dialled to a high volume. However, age-related hearing loss can also be entirely genetic or may be caused due to a certain medical condition. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure can be contributing factors to hearing loss.


 A lot of hearing loss can be prevented or mitigated, even if you do have a genetic predisposition to the condition. If you work in a loud environment, it is usually protocol to wear some form of ear protection so you should ensure you stick to the guidelines set out by your work. If you regularly attend music events where you are exposed to high levels of noise, you may think about reducing the frequency which you attend. However, we understand that a lot of people’s social life is surrounded by music, so you may want to invest in a good quality pair of earplugs which will allow you to enjoy yourself whilst also keeping safe.

Considering that Type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar are largely caused by poor diet, you may want to set out a plan which involves a healthier lifestyle. This will help relieve the effects of your condition and also prevent and mitigate any hearing loss you may experience in the future.

One of the most effective ways at treating hearing loss is through the installation of hearing aids. They amplify noises so sufferers can clearly hear noises around them. If you unfortunately suffer from much more severe hearing loss, there is a treatment known as Cochlear implants, which facilitate hearing by stimulating the auditory nerve. Another useful device is an assistive listening device, which can amplify the sound which comes out of your cell phone, for example.

You may also consider signing up for lessons in sign language or lip reading, so you can communicate with other deaf or hard of hearing people who may not be privileged enough to have access to hearing aids and other devices. By accessing the right treatment, sufferers of hearing loss can continue to live a long, happy and healthy life.

If you have concerns regarding your hearing, why not take a quick five-minute online hearing test to put your mind at ease, or help you decide whether to seek the advice of a professional.


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