Age Related Hearing Loss

Dick Fields, Public Affairs Officer

Dick Fields, Public Affairs Officer

Tiny hair cells inside your inner ear help you hear. They pick up sound waves and change them into the nerve signals that the brain interprets as sound. Hearing loss occurs when the tiny hair cells are damaged or die. The hair cells do not regrow, so most hearing loss caused by hair cell damage is permanent. There is no known single cause of age-related hearing loss. Most commonly, it is caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older. Your genes and loud noise may play a large role. The following factors contribute to age-related hearing loss: Family history (age-related hearing loss tends to run in families);Repeated exposure to loud noise; smoking!; diabetes;certain medications. Loss of hearing often occurs slowly over time. Symptoms include: Difficulty hearing people around you; frequently asking people to repeat themselves; frustration at not being able to hear; certain sounds seem to be overly loud; problems hearing in noisy areas; problems telling apart certain sounds suck as “s” or “th” ; more difficulty understanding people with higher-pitched voices; ringing in the ears. There is no cure for age-related hearing loss. Treatment is focused on improving every-day function. These may help: Hearing aids; Telephone amplifiers; sign language for those with severe hearing loss; speech reading such as lip reading and using visual cues to aid communication; a cochlear implant may be recommended for persons with severe hearing loss, done surgically- the implant allows the person to detect sounds again and with practice can allow the person to understand speech. But it does not restore normal hearing. Contact your doctor right away if you have a sudden change in your hearing or hearing loss with other symptoms such as headache, vision changes, or dizziness.


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