Loss of Hearing in the Elderly



Loss of hearing may be caused at any age by constant exposure to noise, hereditary factors, disease, or accident. The older we get, however, the higher the likelihood that we lose our hearing due to any of the following, as well as to old age. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), about 33% of people will experience hearing loss between 65 and 74 years old. Also, almost 50% of people above 75 will suffer from partial (or complete) loss of hearing.

The different types of hearing loss

There are 2 broad types of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss and conductive hearing loss. The former happens when the auditory nerve or the inner ear is damaged and it leads to a permanent loss of hearing. The latter is caused by a punctured eardrum, buildup of ear wax, or fluids; these prevent sound from reaching the inner ear and can be corrected by surgery.

The elderly mostly struggle with Presbycusis, an age-related loss of hearing. It is often hereditary but may also happen due to changes in the auditory nerve and inner ear. Presbycusis affects both ears equally and the condition is gradual, meaning most people don’t realize they have it until it’s too late.

Older people also suffer from Tinnitus, a condition that causes a recurrent ringing, buzzing, or whistling noise in the ears. It may be loud or quiet and it affects one or both ears. In the elderly, Tinnitus is often regarded as a symptom of a more serious condition like hypertension, a side effect from certain medications, or a circulatory system disorder.

If you are above 65 years, there is a 33% chance that you have a hearing problem and the quicker you know for sure, the better. If you live or work around Magnolia, Texas, visit the Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center today for a hearing screening. Call 281-252-8600 to make an appointment or for any inquiries.