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Addressing your hearing health as an older adult

audiology awareness month
As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, including changes in our sensory functions. Hearing loss is a prevalent condition among older adults, impacting their overall quality of life.

Audiologists plays a crucial role in addressing the hearing needs of older individuals, ensuring they can maintain their independence, social connections, and overall well- being. Oftentimes, seeing an audiologist is the first step in addressing your hearing health.

Understanding Age-Related Hearing Loss

Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is a common condition that affects many older adults. It typically occurs gradually over time, resulting in difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds and understanding speech in noisy environments. Age-related changes in the inner ear, exposure to loud noise throughout life, and genetic factors are some of the causes of this type of hearing loss.

Read more: Why treat Age-related hearing loss?

Impact on Daily Life

Hearing loss can have a significant impact on various aspects of an older adult’s life. It can hinder their ability to communicate with family and friends, leading to feelings of isolation and frustration. It may also affect their ability to engage in social activities, enjoy entertainment such as music or television, and participate in the workforce. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline, increased risk of falls, and diminished overall health and well-being. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is crucial in supporting older adults in maintaining a fulfilling and active lifestyle.

Read more: Research confirms link between hearing loss and dementia

Audiology Services for Older Adults

Audiologists are healthcare professionals specialized in diagnosing and managing hearing and balance disorders. They play a vital role in addressing the hearing needs of older adults through a range of services, including:

  1. Comprehensive Hearing Evaluations: Audiologists conduct thorough assessments to determine the extent and nature of an individual’s hearing loss. This evaluation includes a hearing test, speech recognition testing, and an examination of the ear.
  2. Hearing Aid Fittings: For individuals with hearing loss, hearing aids can significantly improve their ability to hear and communicate. Audiologists are trained to select and fit the most suitable hearing aids based on an individual’s hearing profile, preferences, and lifestyle.
  3. Assistive Listening Devices: Audiologists can recommend and provide assistive listening devices to enhance communication in specific situations, such as amplification systems for televisions or phones, captioned telephones, and personal amplifiers.
  4. Counseling and Education: Audiologists offer counseling and education to older adults and their families, helping them understand the impact of hearing loss and strategies for effective communication. They also provide guidance on the use and maintenance of hearing aids and assistive devices.
  5. Tinnitus Management: Many older adults experience tinnitus, a condition characterized by the perception of ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears. Audiologists can evaluate and develop personalized management plans to alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Addressing your hearing health as an older adult

Audiology plays a vital role in addressing the hearing needs of older adults. By diagnosing and managing age-related hearing loss, audiologists can significantly improve the quality of life for older individuals, enabling them to remain socially connected, independent, and engaged.

If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing difficulties, it is essential to seek the expertise of an audiologist to receive the necessary support and regain the joy of hearing and communicating effectively.

Find a hearing health provider near you.

Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill Blocker von Bueren and Lisa Goldstein.