There are different causes of hearing loss, but the most common form by far is age related hearing loss, which is accumulated through the natural part of the aging process. As we get older, the hair cells in our inner ear deteriorates and the more hair cells that die, the worse our hearing diminishes, and it will continue to get worse with age.
Age related hearing loss is due to the aging process known as presbycusis, a gradual and progressive condition. It’s a form of sensorineural hearing loss which affects both ears at the same rate.
Causes of Age Related Hearing Loss?
There are tiny hair cells inside our inner ear, and their function is to pick up sound waves and change them into nerve signals that the brain interprets as sound. The main reason for age related hearing loss occurs when these hair cells, which are extremely sensitive, are damaged and then eventually die. Hair cell damage is permanent as these hair cells do not regrow.
There is no known single cause except age related hearing loss can be hereditary. Environmental factors are also known to cause this condition, like constant exposure to loud noise. Smokers are also more likely to develop age related hearing loss than nonsmokers. Other illness, conditions, and medication can also impact our hearing ability because the quality of the blood supply is vital to our hearing.
Early Indications of Age Related Hearing Loss
In most cases, your hearing fades slowly that you don’t notice it. As long as sound comes in, you could assume that your hearing is fine but you start to become aware of diminished hearing.
In the initial stages, one-on-one conversations are fine, but it’s hard to catch every word when the background noise is high. You often need to ask people to repeat what they said in person and on the phone. If you notice that following a conversation is almost impossible or you can’t hear what other people are saying even when they are extremely loud, seek help from a hearing aid specialist right away.
How is Age Related Hearing Loss Treated?
There is currently no medical treatment or cure for age related hearing loss, as degeneration of sensory cells cannot be reversed. Most age related hearing loss can be effectively treated and assisted with hearing aids and other communication devices. For those who have severe hearing loss; sign language, speech reading, and a cochlear implant may be recommended.
The good news though is that there are steps you can take to slow down the onset signs of aging. Prevention is focused on improving your lifestyle choices, such as protecting your ears from loud sounds, healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and avoiding cigarette smoking.
If you start to notice hearing loss, it is important to see a hearing professional. They will be able to carry out a number of tests, and if they suspect that you are suffering from age related hearing loss, a hearing specialist will provide you with the best support. Beltone Audiology can help! Call us today at (888) 210-5846.