Age-related hearing loss affects about 30% of Americans above 65 years. Long-term exposure to extremely loud noises is a leading cause of hearing problems and often starts with difficulty in hearing high-pitched sounds.
The ear uses hair cells and nerve cells to receive and transmit sound waves in the brain, and once the delicate hair cells are damaged, optimum hearing ability is lost. Since the chances of presbycusis increase with age, it’s important to understand the various causes and possible remedies.
1. Chronic Medical Conditions
Some chronic medical conditions can lead to the deterioration of your hearing abilities as you age. Some prevalent medical issues linked with hearing loss may include cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, stroke, dementia, stroke, tumors, brain damage, and severe viral or bacterial infections. Typically, most of these medical conditions are likely to affect older adults.
Diabetes often triggers cochleopathy the same way it leads to low libido and retinopathy. As such, proper management of different types of diabetes is critical for all adults over the age of fifty years. Notably, cardiovascular conditions often trigger hearing problems in older women compared to aging males. The cardiovascular system and your inner ear are directly linked, meaning abnormalities in your cardiovascular system can negatively impact your hearing capabilities. Regardless, strict management through lifestyle modifications, medications, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can delay the onset of hearing loss.
However, the link between hearing loss and these medical conditions is correlative. Efforts to establish whether advanced hearing accessories can prevent hearing loss in older patients are underway.
2. Modifiable Lifestyle Behaviors and Associated Prescriptions
Some common modifiable lifestyle behaviors increase the chances of developing hearing loss as you age. For example, regular exercise is linked to a lower probability of developing hearing loss among older adults. Also, passive and active smokers are exposed to higher risks of suffering from hearing impairment in old age. At the same time, consistent inclusion of dietary supplements and foods with high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids can lower the risks of hearing problems.
On the other hand, some prescriptions and OTC medications for age-related ailments can trigger temporary and long-term hearing loss. While the medications provide effective relief for pre-existing medical conditions, most are highly ototoxic. The medications may include silicate-based pain relievers, aminoglycoside antibiotics, and some loop diuretics for cardiovascular conditions.
3. Exposure to Loud Noises
Most people face regular exposure to loud noises throughout life. The noise may come from loud industrial machinery, sirens, and public address systems. Typically, a brief exposure to loud noises may not significantly affect your hearing abilities. But exposure to noise exceeding 115 decibels can cause gradual or immediate hearing loss because it damages the nerve cells in your ears.
As noise-induced hearing loss cases increase, protecting your ears from voluntary and involuntary loud noises is essential. Accessories like earmuffs and earplugs are absolutely necessary to preserve your hearing abilities and avoid problems in old age.
While personal audio devices seem harmless, improper volume settings can equally damage your ears and lead to gradual hearing loss as you approach your golden years. Some earbuds have poor sound quality; therefore, you should limit their use to one hour per session. In addition, it’s best to allow your ears to relax and recover after listening to loud music.
4. Poor Diet
Nutrition is directly linked to your hearing health, just like it impacts other health conditions. However, a healthy diet can lower the risks of experiencing hearing problems among seniors. A higher intake of foods like fish, whole grains, olive oil, lean meats, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and nuts can decimate the chances of hearing loss.
Some nutrients have characteristics that benefit your hearing health. For example, potassium is responsible for the regulation of inner ear fluids. And since potassium levels decrease with age, potassium-rich foods can slow the onset of hearing loss among older adults. In addition, folic acid promotes blood circulation and cell regeneration, which is vital for ensuring an abundance of small hair cells in your ears.
Nutrients like magnesium can protect your ears from potential damage by loud noise by forming a protective barrier around the tiny hairs in the ears. On the contrary, magnesium deficiencies can cause oxygen deprivation in the ears, making you more susceptible to ear damage.
5. Overindulgence in Immersive Technology
The advancement of modern technology has increased the availability of entertainment devices featuring enhanced audio-visual capabilities. The technology has good intentions, but overindulgence and misuse can trigger user hearing problems.
Cinemas and theaters are equipped with surround sound and VR technology, exposing people to loud noise and increasing the chances of gradual hearing loss. Above-average sound levels cause mild or moderate tinctures, and prolonged exposure can lead to gradual hearing loss. While it’s hard to notice the effects when you are young, the condition often worsens as you age.
Effective Remedies for Hearing Loss
Minimizing your exposure to loud noises can protect the hair cells in the ear and mitigate the severe effects of presbycusis in old age. However, successful treatment requires patience, and the process requires different specialists from HearCanada.
Most people with presbycusis seek medical help after several years when the condition has worsened. However, it’s hard to notice its onset since the process is gradual. While no medication can reverse age-related hearing loss, medical professionals often recommend effective solutions to mitigate the effects of presbycusis.
Assistive hearing aids and hearing loops can offer lasting relief for seniors with difficulty comprehending sounds in areas with background noise. On the other hand, cochlear implants are ideal for people with severe hearing conditions. Electrodes implanted in the inner ear bypass the damaged sections of the ear, and electric signals are sent directly to healthy nerve cells.
Age-related hearing is difficult to reverse, especially when discovered in the late stages. The issue may get worse as age increases, but symptom management and other techniques can improve the quality of life. Besides improving a patient’s sound reception, management strategies can minimize social stress, isolation, anxiety, and self-esteem. Nevertheless, preventive measures can delay the onset of age-related hearing loss for individuals predisposed to the condition.
John Davis is a passionate content writer with a knack for crafting engaging narratives across various subjects. With a keen eye for detail and a love for storytelling, John brings ideas to life through the power of words. His dedication to delivering high-quality and informative content has made him a trusted voice in the digital realm. When he’s not at his desk, you’ll find John exploring new hobbies and seeking inspiration in the world around him.