Seniors are at a greater risk of developing hearing loss than younger adults. According to the National Institutes of Health, age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, “develops and is exacerbated by various factors, including heredity, medical disease and environmental factors.”
Let’s examine a few of these factors in greater detail as well as discuss how seniors can protect their hearing as they age.
Best Tips For Hearing Protection
- Protect your ears from loud environments. Any prolonged exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels can cause permanent noise-induced hearing loss. Many common activities can easily reach these volumes, including going to concerts at the Wonder Ballroom, attending live sports events, riding motorcycles or snowmobiles or working in loud environments like construction sites. Thankfully, you can still engage in activities you enjoy by wearing hearing protection like earplugs or custom earmolds in loud environments.
- Check the volume on your devices. It’s important to keep the volume at a reasonable level when you listen to music on headphones or earbuds or when you’re watching TV. When watching television, make sure it’s loud enough to hear but not so loud that you can hear it in other rooms of the house. You can also use health apps on your smartphone to make sure you’re listening to music in a safe decibel range.
- Manage other health conditions. Conditions like heart disease and diabetes can damage the blood vessels of your inner ear and lead to hearing loss if they are not well controlled. If you have any of these conditions, make sure you are managing them with a healthy diet, proper exercise, taking your medications and having regular checkups with your primary care provider.
- Talk with your doctor about medications. Some medications are ototoxic, meaning they can damage your ear and lead to problems like hearing loss, balance issues and tinnitus. Talk to your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medication that you use to see if it could harm your hearing.
Seniors Should Get Their Hearing Tested
If you are over the age of 50, you should talk with your medical provider about scheduling an appointment for a hearing test, even if you don’t have noticeable symptoms. Hearing loss can come on gradually and often goes unnoticed in its early stages. However, like with any chronic condition, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the easier it is to manage.
If your test shows that you have hearing loss, your audiologist will most likely recommend hearing aids. They will work with you to determine what pair best meets your hearing needs as well as feels comfortable and fits with your individual lifestyle.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Mt. Hood ENT & Allergy today.