The general consensus is that hearing loss is just another part of the aging process. However, studies show that when hearing loss is left untreated, it can lead to a number of neurological and cognitive disorders. It’s estimated that nearly one out of five people has some form of hearing loss. Problem is, most people aren’t even aware of it.
I, for one, certainly wasn’t aware of the warning signs of hearing loss in my father when I was younger. If I was, I’m sure I would’ve made him get his hearing checked much, much sooner. If you suspect your older parent or loved one is suffering from hearing loss, here are a few telltale signs to help you tell.
Consistently Turning the Volume Up
One of most obvious warning signs of hearing loss in seniors is when you they constantly notice them turning routinely turn up the volume up. Whether they’re watching TV or listening to the radio, consistently turning up the volume is a clear indication that they are not hearing well and of an underlying cause could be the first sign of hearing loss.
Look for the Difference in Varying Frequencies Hearing High vs Low Pitches
It’s also important to note that for seniors, higher frequencies are usually the first sounds that become the first to go most difficult to hear. For example, take note if they may have trouble hearing women and children more than men’s voices. High-pitched sounds, like the buzzer on a washing machine that of the doorbell or the timer on a microwave, can also become be the first of many sounds that are difficult to hear.
Trouble Differentiating Sounds
Another easy indicator is if they are having trouble making the distinction between different sounds . You may be puzzled to see your parent hearing you without troublenormally one moment, but then having a hard time hearing you the next. For people with age-related hearing loss, conversation and speech can often become muffled by background noise. Take note of when they are having trouble hearing — if it’s in a crowded atmosphere environment, like a restaurant or a gathering, it may be because they are having trouble making the distinction between different sounds.
Also, if you notice they have more trouble hearing you over the phone as opposed to in person, hearing loss may be present. A lot of Most people with hearing difficulties loss rely on seeing a speaker’s mouth move to in order to help get an idea of understand what they are saying, . Not being able to read lips and facial expressions which make conversing over the phone much more difficult.
Ringing in the Ears
Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears, can be another indicator of potential hearing loss in seniors. There are many different causes of tinnitus, and it may be something as simple as earwax buildup that’s causing the problem. Tinnitus ranges varies in sound and duration and can last from anywhere between days, months, or even years. Whatever the case, if they are complaining about a constant ringing sound in their ears, it’s important they have their hearing checked following medical clearance.
Though there is no way to reverse age-related hearing loss, help is available. Hearing aids have been found to increase the quality of life in over 90 percent of people who use them. It took months of me pressuring my father to have his hearing checked before he decided to seek help. The problem with hearing loss is that it’s silent, and because it’s silent it usually takes years before someone becomes aware of the extent of their hearing.
If you’ve noticed any of the above signs of hearing loss in your parents, friends or family members, be proactive and help them schedule a hearing exam evaluation by visiting http://www.miracle-ear.com with their local hearing care professional.
Dr. Younk has held the role of Director of Professional Development for Amplifon USA since 2009. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing professional training for all divisions of Amplifon as well as product management. She has an extensive background in the area of retail health care as well as sales and technical training. Dr. Younk holds an Au.D. from the University of Florida and a Master’s of Science degree in Audiology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.