What is age related hearing loss?
As our ears age their sensitivity to different tones can become reduced. Most commonly this happens in the high pitched region although this can vary. Changes in hearing can come about due to noise exposure, disease or simply the ageing process.
What happens in the ear to cause hearing loss?
In most cases hearing loss is caused by damage or wear and tear to the ‘hair cells’ inside the Cochlea. As these cells reduce in number the volume required for us to hear a sound increases. Damage to the eardrum or three small bones can also prevent sound from reaching the Cochlea making it difficult to hear.
Other reasons for hearing loss can be damage to the ear drum such as a traumatic perforation, changes or damage to the tiny bones in the ear, ossicles, that transmit the vibrations of sound from the ear drum across to the inner ear or Cochlea
What are the symptoms of hearing loss?
Difficulty in background noise Hearing may seem normal in quiet or one to one environments but you may struggle in group situations
Increased TV volume You may require a higher volume setting on your television than those around you
Repetition You may be finding it increasingly necessary to ask those around you to repeat what they have said for clarification
The link between hearing loss and cognitive decline is still not clearly evidenced. It is however very true that having a hearing loss can certainly make us feel as though we are cognitively impaired. This can have a negative effect on our confidence, enjoyment of social situations and might even exacerbate the symptoms of a mild cognitive decline