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.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Living in a noisy world increases your risk of hearing loss — either in a single moment or from long-term damage over time. But it doesn’t have to. Learn how to prevent noise-induced hearing loss with earmolds.
7 Things That May Trigger Your Misophonia

7 Things That May Trigger Your Misophonia

Most people get irritated by loud noises or annoying sounds from time to time. But with misophonia, you have an intense emotional and even physical reaction to common sounds others don’t even notice. These types of sounds can trigger this response.
When Is a Hearing Test Necessary?

When Is a Hearing Test Necessary?

Hearing loss affects people of all ages, so everyone can benefit from testing. However, there are signs that can indicate a problem, making hearing tests more of a necessity. Are you worried about your hearing? Here’s when to schedule a test.
Could My Musical Child Benefit From Earmolds?

Could My Musical Child Benefit From Earmolds?

The best way to avoid noise-related hearing loss involves proactive behaviors — specifically, using hearing protection and limiting exposure to loud sounds. It’s never too early to start, especially with young musicians. Read about how earmolds help.
How Bell’s Palsy Can Affect Your Hearing

How Bell’s Palsy Can Affect Your Hearing

People often associate hearing problems with aging, but they can occur for several reasons. In fact, health conditions like Bell’s palsy can trigger hearing issues, including tinnitus and hyperacusis. Read on to learn more.
What Causes Hearing Loss?

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss is a common problem, especially as people grow older. But why? Causes can vary depending on the type of hearing loss. It can also occur gradually, making the first signs difficult to notice — and it can start at any age.