Check Up: Her hearing is going
Mavis is 71 and lives in Spanish Town. She is concerned that she is not hearing properly.
Her doctor assures her that there is no build-up of wax in her ears and that she should consider getting a hearing aid.
Mavis asks why people lose their hearing as they get older and can anything be done about it.
As individuals age, any number of changes occur in the way their body functions. Gradual hearing loss is just one possible negative change and is quite common, as almost one in two adults over age 65 experiences some degree of hearing loss.
This condition is also called presbycusis and can impact the quality of life significantly.
Age-related hearing loss takes place over time and is due to changes occurring within the inner ear. These changes include:
• Changes to the blood flow to the inner ear (decreased).
• Changes to the structure of the inner ear.
• Impaired hearing nerves
• Changes in how the brain processes sound.
There are also several physical illnesses and disorders which mostly come with ageing and which can affect hearing, such as:
• Poor circulation
• Prolonged exposure to loud noise
Symptoms of age-related hearing loss tends to begin with an inability to hear high-pitched sounds, like female and children voices.
Sounds may also seem muffled and unclear. Signs this problem is occurring include:
• Asking people to repeat what they said.
• Turning up the TV.
• Difficulty with hearing telephone conversations.
• Ringing in the ears.
A doctor should always check out these symptoms as they can also be caused by other disorders which require more urgent medical attention.
A visit to see the ear, nose and throat surgeon is definitely a good idea to properly diagnose the cause of hearing loss. A visit to the audiologist is also necessary.
These professionals identify and measure hearing loss and can recommend the proper hearing aid which may be needed. The tests are painless.
Write Check Up: PO Box 1731: Kgn 8
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