How Does Aging Affect Hearing?

How Does Aging Affect Hearing?

Your body changes as you get older. Your hair goes gray, your eyes may become more sensitive to light, and your skin becomes thinner and less flexible.

Aging can affect your hearing, too. Physiological changes that occur over time can lead to hearing loss. In fact, approximately one-third of adults ages 65-74 experience some type of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Aging. Among those over age 75, approximately half lose some of their ability to hear.

If you’re wondering how aging affects your hearing, Dr. Kevin Sharim of Sharp Hearing Care Professionals can provide some insights. Here, he describes some of the ways that age can affect your ears and your hearing. He also explains how he and his team can help older people optimize their hearing.

Aging and your ears

Every part of your body is affected by age. Muscles lose some of their strength. Blood vessels may become stiffer and less capable of carrying blood easily. Nerves may sustain damage, and your body may become less efficient at healing and repairing damage at the cellular level.

Like every other part of your body, your ears experience the consequences of age. Your eardrums may stiffen, circulation to the structures in your ears may slow down, and nerves may become damaged or less able to function well.

For example, a type of hearing loss known as sensorineural hearing loss can result from damage to your auditory nerve or inner ear. This type of hearing loss often occurs with aging, as well as because of injuries or loud sounds. Fortunately, this type of hearing loss tends to respond well to hearing aids.

As structures in your ears sustain damage or function less efficiently, you may begin to experience hearing loss. Your hearing may suffer because of primary damage to your ears or as a side effect of conditions such as tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears.

Hearing and brain changes

Hearing loss may also be linked to age-related changes in your brain. Research has found links between age-related cognitive decline and hearing loss, although more study is needed to determine how the two conditions are related.

However, it makes sense that an aging brain may complicate your ability to hear well. Although your ears pick up sounds from your environment, your brain is what interprets those sounds. Age-related changes to your brain could affect the sharpness of your hearing as well as your understanding of messages sent to your brain by the structures in your ears.

Of course, age isn’t the only factor that plays a role in hearing loss. Other contributors to hearing problems include loud noises, infections, heredity, and certain illnesses and diseases. The older you are, the more likely you are to experience damage to your hearing by these factors.

Treating age-related hearing loss

If you’re experiencing age-related hearing loss, Dr. Sharim and our team can help. After performing a full evaluation, we provide you with the treatments and solutions that can improve your hearing and your quality of life. These may include:

Hearing aids

Hearing aids help you hear better by amplifying sounds in your environment.

Here at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, we offer a variety of hearing aids from a range of different manufacturers, such as Starkey®, Widex®, Resound GN®, Sonic Innovations®, Signia®, Phonak, and Unitron™.

The different kinds of hearing aids come with a wide variety of features. Our hearing aid specialists help you choose a style and brand of hearing aid that best meets your needs.

Assistive listening devices

We also offer our patients a variety of assistive listening devices. These devices help improve your hearing by using advanced electronics to transmit sounds directly to your ear or your hearing aid.

Take good care of your hearing

No matter what your age, taking good care of your hearing makes sense. Our providers can identify hearing problems and create customized care plans to address them.

To schedule a hearing evaluation, a hearing test, a hearing aid appointment, or any other kind of hearing care visit, contact Sharp Hearing Care Professionals directly. Our offices are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California.

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