How To Prevent Age
Unlike NIHL, Age related hearing loss is completely natural most people experience a gradual loss of hearing as they get older. Presbycusis is a very common condition, affecting 30-35 percent of adults age 65. Just like with NIHL, there are things you can do to help prevent or delay this gradual type of hearing loss.
How The Ear Hears
Think about how you can feel speakers vibrate on your sound system or feel your throat vibrate when you speak. Sound, which is made up of invisible waves of energy, causes these vibrations.
Hearing begins when sound waves that travel through the air reach the outer ear or pinna, which is the part of the ear you can see. The sound waves then travel from the pinna through the ear canal to the middle ear, which includes the eardrum and three tiny bones called ossicles. When the eardrum vibrates, the ossicles amplify these vibrations and carry them to the inner ear.
The inner ear is made up of a snail-shaped chamber called the cochlea , which is filled with fluid and lined with thousands of tiny hair cells . When the vibrations move through the fluid, the tiny outer hair cells amplify the vibrations. The amplification is important because it allows you to hear soft sounds, like whispering and birds.
Then, the inner hair cells translate the vibrations into electrical nerve impulses and send them to the auditorynerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain. When these nerve impulses reach the brain, they are interpreted as sound. The cochlea is like a piano: specific areas along the length of the cochlea pick up gradually higher pitches.
Reversing Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Once damaged, your auditory nerve and cilia cannot be repaired. But, depending on the severity of the damage, sensorineural hearing loss has been successfully treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants. There is, however, the possibility that your hearing loss isnt reversible.
A cochlear implant bypasses the injured or damaged portion of the auditory system and directly stimulates your auditory nerve. With a cochlear implant, many people even those with severe sensorineural hearing loss have been able to reverse hearing loss partially.
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Lifestyle Tips To Help Prevent Hearing Loss
Hearing loss prevention begins with healthyhabits like regular exercise.
Your inner ear contains delicate hair-like cells that are quite sensitive to changes in blood flow. If these cells are damaged, you experience hearing loss. The healthier you are overall, the better you can prevent hearing lossor preserve the hearing you do have, if you already have hearing loss.
Causes Of Hearing Loss
Loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Noise from lawn mowers, snow blowers, or loud music can damage the inner ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Loud noise also contributes to tinnitus. You can prevent most noise-related hearing loss. Protect yourself by turning down the sound on your stereo, television, or headphones moving away from loud noise or using earplugs or other ear protection.
Earwax or fluid buildup can block sounds that are carried from the eardrum to the inner ear. If wax blockage is a problem, talk with your doctor. He or she may suggest mild treatments to soften earwax.
A punctured ear drum can also cause hearing loss. The eardrum can be damaged by infection, pressure, or putting objects in the ear, including cotton-tipped swabs. See your doctor if you have pain or fluid draining from the ear.
Health conditions common in older people, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, can contribute to hearing loss. Viruses and bacteria , a heart condition, stroke, brain injury, or a tumor may also affect your hearing.
Hearing loss can also result from taking certain medications. Ototoxic medications damage the inner ear, sometimes permanently. Some ototoxic drugs include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease. Some antibiotics are ototoxic. Even aspirin at some dosages can cause problems. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication.
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Stay Active And Manage Your Blood Pressure
Its widely known that exercise and good cardiac health pose benefits for all-around health. However, many individuals may be surprised to hear how beneficial exercise can be for hearing health. First, exercise helps reduce inflammation which may act in the natural degradation of hearing.
Additionally, regular exercise increases cardiac health and, subsequently, blood flow and pressure. Proper blood flow can help keep your ears healthy. Alternatively, poor blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the ear, leading to impaired hearing.
Hearing Loss In Older Adults
ANNE D. WALLING, MB, ChB, and GRETCHEN M. DICKSON, MD, MBA
University of Kansas School of MedicineWichita, Wichita, Kansas
Am Fam Physician. 2012 Jun 15 85:1150-1156.
At least 28 million U.S. adults have hearing loss.1 After hypertension and arthritis, it is the most common chronic health problem in older persons.2 The impact of hearing loss on society will increase as baby boomers age, because the age-specific prevalence of hearing loss and the number of older persons are increasing.3
Normal conversations use frequencies of 500 to 3,000 Hz at 45 to 60 dB. After 60 years of age, hearing typically declines by about 1 dB annually. Men usually experience greater hearing loss and earlier onset compared with women.4 Hearing loss of 25 dB or more affects about 37 percent of adults 61 to 70 years of age, 60 percent of adults 71 to 80 years of age, and more than 80 percent of adults older than 85 years.5,6 No evidence supports a threshold age for the onset of hearing loss.7
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends screening persons older than 60 years for hearing loss during periodic health examinations.
A = consistent, good-quality patient-oriented evidence B = inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence C = consensus, disease-oriented evidence, usual practice, expert opinion, or case series. For information about the SORT evidence rating system, go to .
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Protect Your Hearing During Loud Events And Activities
To protect your hearing during loud activities and events :
- move away from sources of loud noises
- try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes
- give your hearing about 18 hours to recover after exposure to lots of loud noise
- consider wearing earplugs you can buy re-usable musicians’ earplugs that reduce the volume of music but do not muffle it
Hearing Loss In Elders
- By Sehat
Growing old is mandatory. As long as the clock is ticking, you will one day be an elderly person. Unlike what many people think, aging is not a bad thing. We all want to live for many years and that means we must embrace aging.
The effects of aging scare many people. The most common effect of aging is hearing loss and poor eyesight. Having lived 60 years hearing and seeing well, suddenly you have to cope with new impairments. Hearing loss in elderly people is common but it should not scare you. Learn how you can prepare yourself for your old age years. It is actually possible to avoid severe hearing loss when you grow old.
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What Type Of Hearing Loss Is Preventable
Simply put noise-induced hearing loss . This is where loud noise permanently damages cells and membranes in the cochlea .
Hair cells in the cochlea are critical for hearing, as they allow your brain to detect sounds. While you are born with thousands of these hair cells, constant exposure to loud sounds can destroy up to 50 percent of hair cells before you experience any measurable differences in your hearing. By the time youre aware of your hearing loss, it will be too late to take any preventative action. Even worse, these delicate hair cells do not regenerate once you have NIHL, there is no cure.
Early awareness of the dangers of loud noise and sustained implementation of precautionary measures is critical.
How To Cope With Hearing Loss
If you notice signs of hearing loss, talk to your doctor. If you have trouble hearing, you should:
- Let people know you have a hearing problem.
- Ask people to face you and to speak more slowly and clearly. Also, ask them to speak louder without shouting.
- Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.
- Let the person talking know if you do not understand what he or she said.
- Ask the person speaking to reword a sentence and try again.
- Find a good location to listen. Place yourself between the speaker and sources of noise and look for quieter places to talk.
The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek professional advice. Your family doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your hearing problem. Or, your doctor may refer you to other experts, like an otolaryngologist or an audiologist .
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Why Do We Lose Our Hearing As We Age
We know that time slowly damages your hearing, but why? What are the specifics behind it? Well, to know what goes wrong with the ear, we have to know what goes right with it, and how it works.
When sound enters the ear, it travels down the ear canal and vibrates three small bones, which stimulate thousands of tiny hair cells within an organ known as the cochlea. The cochlea then sends electrical signals to the brain.
So, when we start to lose our hearing as we age, which of these components start to fail us? That responsibility lies mostly with the tiny hair cells.
Since there are thousands upon thousands of these cells, a few of them dying wouldnt be a massive setback. But they can be wiped out en masse by things like loud noise, certain drugs, or illnesses that induce high fevers. When these cells die, you experience what is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
The biggest bane of the hearing healthcare world is the fact that these sensitive cells cannot regenerate. Everything you know about hearing healthcare would be flipped on its head if we had a solution to this single problem we wouldnt need hearing aids, we wouldnt need certain surgeries, and everything would be a lot simpler.
Sadly, though, we dont yet have a cure for deceased hair cells so for now, were stuck looking at treatment options.
Get Your Free Otofonix Hearing Test
Be sure to take advantage of our free online hearing test to help you determine whether you should be wearing a hearing aid. Once you have established your level of hearing loss, it will be easier to select which devices are most suitable for your needs.
Whats more, our hearing aids cost a fraction of what youd pay for prescription models. Here at Otofonix, we have helped countless people improve their hearing with our affordable hearing aids. If you are ready to improve your quality of life, we invite you to contact us so we can help you in your journey to better hearing.
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What Is Hearing Impairment
Hearing impairment occurs when there’s a problem with or damage to one or more parts of the ear.
The degree of hearing impairment can vary widely from person to person. Some people have partial hearing loss, meaning that the ear can pick up some sounds others have complete hearing loss, meaning that the ear cannot hear at all . In some types of hearing loss, a person can have much more trouble when there is background noise. One or both ears may be affected, and the impairment may be worse in one ear than in the other.
The timing of the hearing loss can vary, too. Congenital hearing loss is present at birth. Acquired hearing loss happens later in life during childhood, the teen years, or in adulthood and it can be sudden or progressive .
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 37.5 million American people aged 18 and over are deaf or hearing impaired. That’s about 15 out of every 100 people. Another 26 million are exposed to hazardous noise levels on a regular basis. Hearing loss is also the most common birth anomaly.
How To Reverse Hearing Loss At Home
Although theres little clinical research to support home treatments for hearing loss reversal, there are many advocates for natural remedies.
Keep in mind that the FDA doesnt monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. Its important to talk with your doctor before you begin using essential oils and use caution when choosing a quality brand. You should also always do a test patch before using.
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Where Can I Find Additional Information About Age
The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.
Use the following keywords to help you find organizations that can answer questions and provide information on age-related hearing loss:
Be Aware Of Your Family History
If you want to know how to avoid hearing loss, you should know your familys history with it. Knowing if your family has a history of hearing loss can help you prepare for the future.
If you know hearing loss is common in your family, you can take further precautions to protect your hearing. This knowledge should entice you to avoid loud noises, turn down the volume, and be aware of all the previous tips.
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What Should I Do If I Have Trouble Hearing
Hearing problems can be serious. The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek advice from a health care provider. There are several types of professionals who can help you. You might want to start with your primary care physician, an otolaryngologist, an audiologist, or a hearing aid specialist. Each has a different type of training and expertise. Each can be an important part of your hearing health care.
- An otolaryngologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ear, nose, throat, and neck. An otolaryngologist, sometimes called an ENT, will try to find out why you’re having trouble hearing and offer treatment options. He or she may also refer you to another hearing professional, an audiologist.
- An audiologist has specialized training in identifying and measuring the type and degree of hearing loss. Some audiologists may be licensed to fit hearing aids.
- A hearing aid specialist is someone who is licensed by your state to conduct and evaluate basic hearing tests, offer counseling, and fit and test hearing aids.
How Loud Is Too Loud
Youre probably exposing yourself to dangerous noise levels if:
- if you need to shout to be heard by a person 1 metre away from you
- youre listening to music through headphones and cant hear traffic sounds or people talking near you
If you hear ringing in your ears after an event or a day at work, it was too loud. If you have a lot of days like that, you will almost certainly damage your hearing.
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How To Know If Noise Is Too Loud
Its also good to keep in mind that if you think something is too loud, chances are it is! Some indicators of a too loud environment or sound include noise that feels unpleasant to you, needing to raise your voice in order to be heard, the noise hurting your ears, and being unable to hear people three feet away from you.
If you have ringing in your ears or muffled hearing after being exposed to a loud sound, this indicates that the sound was too loud as well.
As weve already mentioned, anything over 85 dB can cause hearing damage, but it can be useful to understand this in context. The louder the sound, the greater the number of decibels. So while a conversation is 60 dB, busy traffic is around 70 dB to 85 dB, and a plane taking off is 120 dB. If youd like to know the loudness of the sounds around you and have a smartphone, you can .
Injury & Medical Conditions
Noise isnt the only thing that can damage your hearing. Trauma and injury are obvious culprits. But even cotton swabs can injure or rupture your eardrum and shouldnt be used.
Various chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes can impede proper blood flow to parts of the ear, disrupting proper hearing. These are conditions that arent normally connected with the ear, but its something to watch out for.
Various tumors usually benign but occasionally malignant may also be to blame, and so can an abundance of earwax buildup. Make sure you have any hearing disruption checked out by a doctor.
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Illnesses Should Be Kept Under Control:
A lot of conditions have the potential to lead to a loss of hearing. This includes conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some other types of circulatory illnesses. The inner parts of your ear are extremely sensitive and they are also delicate. Therefore, any circulation issues have the potential to cause hearing problems. Hearing problems are also much more likely to happen to people who smoke.