Old is Gold… but can you hear what is being told?
- Aging and Hearing Loss
Every year 3rd March is observed as World Hearing Day an initiative by the World Health Organization. This initiative aims to increase awareness on how to prevent hearing loss and promote good ear and hearing care practices. Each year a theme is planned and propagated through educational materials such as banners, posters, and presentations. The World Hearing Day theme for the year 2020 is ‘Hearing for life – Don’t let hearing limit you.’
The World Health Organization has estimated that more than one-third of the population above 65 years of age are suffering from hearing loss. The occurrence of hearing loss being highest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. Hearing loss being an invisible handicap is often unnoticed. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent in nature.
The main causes of hearing loss among older adults include hypertension, diabetes, noise exposure, cancer treatment, and other age-related changes. Hearing loss in older adults is termed as ‘presbycusis’. Among the older adults, hearing loss is often of a permanent nature and gradually increases with age. Age-related hearing loss usually occurs in both the ears. It leads to them feeling left out of conversations, lonely, frustrated as well as have an impact on their social life. It can also have an impact on their physical safety as they might be unable to listen to auditory signals such as sirens, alarms and doorbells.
However, hearing loss in older adults is usually not perceived until pointed out by a caregiver or spouse who is frustrated with the communication problem, being asked to repeat or increase the volume of the television. It is important to increase the awareness about the importance of timely detection and intervention of hearing loss.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms; consult an audiologist at the earliest:
- Asking others to repeat themselves
- Raising television or radio often
- Missing out conversation
- Experiencing a ringing sensation (tinnitus) in ears
- Screaming loudly on telephone
- Difficulty to hear sounds such as ‘s’ ‘sh’
- Difficulty to hear when there is background noise
Dept. of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology, Kasturba Hospital, Attavar, Mangalore
Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Phone number: 0824-2445858
by Dr Rohit Ravi