Age-related hearing loss is not uncommon among adults. About 1 in 3 adults over 65 years of age suffer from age-related hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss tends to occur gradually and affects both ears equally.
Sound waves pass through the ear canal and are converted to electrical signals by the brain so that we perceive sound. Hearing loss due to aging may be caused due to a number of factors including changes that occur in the inner or other parts of the ear or nerve pathways. It could also be the result of the side effect of certain medications or long-term exposure to loud noise.
It is essential to seek intervention at the earliest if you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from hearing loss. Studies have shown that the elderly who suffer from hearing loss are at an increased risk of developing dementia. Hearing loss also affects social, emotional, and mental well-being due to its impact on people’s ability to interact and connect with other people.
While there do not seem to be ways to prevent hearing loss that occurs due to a change in morphology, protecting ears with ear muffs or protectors can help reduce damage caused by exposure to loud noises. This is especially important because the sensory receptors in the inner ear once damaged do not repair themselves, thereby resulting in diminished hearing ability.
Development in technology has resulted in a myriad of options that will help people with hearing loss live life uncompromised. These include hearing devices, assistive technologies, and several others that convert sound into light or vibrational energies. Several styles of hearing aids exist including behind the ear, and in the canal, with some that are barely visible. Hearing aids also cater to different levels of hearing loss from mild to severe.
Devices such as cochlear implants are usually used for severe hearing loss while other hearing aids are used for mild to moderate hearing loss. Assistive technologies including infrared and teletypewriter are novel in their conversion of sound energy to other energy forms that are detectable by people suffering from hearing loss.
It is also crucial to feel supported when suffering from a condition like hearing loss. Letting loved ones know of your condition will help them be more supportive and assist you on your journey. Taking other steps to manage hearing loss can also help reduce the frustrations and impact that this can have on your day-day life.
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