Everyone ages differently, but one common symptom of getting older is hearing loss. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly a third of people over the age of 65, and half of those over the age of 75, have at least some hearing difficulties. With numbers like that, you may be wondering why hearing loss is so common with age. There are many causes for this issue, and some can even be prevented.
5 Reasons Hearing Declines With Age
1. Inner Ear Changes
As we age, changes in the inner ear contribute to hearing loss. Tiny hair cells inside the ear allow us to hear, but they naturally sustain damage and die as we get older. Because these hairs don't grow back, it becomes harder to hear as they disappear. This hair loss typically occurs at a similar rate in both ears, so older adults lose hearing from both ears at the same time.
2. Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, have been shown to contribute to hearing loss. The exact reason for this hasn’t yet been proven, but doctors believe it could be caused by damage to blood vessels or nerves in the ears.
3. Certain Medications
Some medications have been shown to affect hearing, particularly for people with kidney disease. The drugs used in chemotherapy are known for this side-effect, but many generic medications can also lead to hearing loss. For example, large doses of aspirin (8-12 pills daily), NSAID pain relievers, some blood pressure medications, and some antibiotics can cause hearing difficulties.
4. Loud, Sustained Noises
Exposure to loud noises for long periods of time can damage the hairs in the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss. Working in noisy environments without ear protection is the most common culprit of this type of hearing loss. However, any excessive exposure to loud music, heavy equipment, firearms, or other loud sounds can have the same impact.
5. Lifestyle Factors
Certain lifestyle choices, including smoking, can contribute to hearing loss in old age. Obesity and poor diet can also contribute to changes in hearing, likely because of damage to blood vessels and changes to the inner ear.
If you’ve experienced hearing loss or want to protect your hearing, County Hearing And Balance can help. They have been serving Southeastern and Shoreline, CT, for over 40 years, offering discreet, up-to-date hearing technologies. Their experienced team of audiologists will help you understand and treat your hearing loss. Learn more about their services by visiting them online, or call (203) 245-1950 to schedule an appointment.