Signs of Hearing Loss

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How hearing loss develops

If the person you're caring for doesn't always answer your questions, he may not be ignoring you. Gradual hearing loss as one ages -- presbycusis (prez-buh-KYOO-sis) -- is common among older adults. About one third of those ages 65 to 74 and almost half of those 75 and older have some degree of diminished hearing.

Tinnitus (tin-NY-tus), also common among older adults, is a ringing, hissing, or roaring sound in the ears frequently triggered by exposure to loud noise or certain medications.

Hearing problems can creep up almost undetected, but if ignored or untreated, they're likely to get worse. If detected, though, treatments are available to tackle this problem. Often caregivers pick up on hearing problems before the older adults themselves.

Listen and watch for the following signs that an older adult may have a hard time hearing:

  • Asking others to speak more slowly, clearly, or loudly, or to repeat themselves
  • Difficulty understanding words in a restaurant, in a crowd of people, or if more than one person is speaking
  • Muffled speech or mumbling
  • Needing to turn up the volume of the radio, television, or music
  • Trouble understanding people on the telephone
  • Straining to follow a conversation, misunderstanding, responding inappropriately, or saying that others' speech sounds distorted
  • Complaining of a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound
  • Difficulty understanding the speech of women and children
  • Saying that some sounds seem too loud
  • Reading lips, or more intently watching people's faces when they speak
  • Withdrawal from or avoidance of conversation
  • Unexplained irritability, anger, stress, nervousness, negativity, embarrassment, or depression

If you notice any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with his doctor for a hearing test. The physician may refer him to an audiologist, or hearing specialist, for other hearing tests to identify and measure hearing loss. Or she may refer him to an otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-GAH-luh-jist), a doctor and surgeon trained in ear, nose, throat, head, and neck problems, to find out what's causing hearing loss and what can be done to treat it.

Sarah Henry

Sarah Henry has covered health stories for most of her more than two decades as a writer, from her ten-year stint at the award-winning Center for Investigative Reporting to her staff writer position with Hippocrates magazine to her most recent Web work for online sites, including WebMD, Babycenter. See full bio

almost 5 years, said...

These look like great tools for the hearing impaired. We'd love to get our hands on one to try it out and/or review one. For those that don't know what you are talking about, here is a link to get more information regarding hearing aids. Reference:

over 5 years, said...

Hearing loss can badly effect on the other body parts. Hard of hearing people may have to face too many difficulties and even it can also affect the brain structure. I have read in a novel that due to hearing loss person can suffer from brain hemorrhage. But by using various hearing aids it can be prevented.

almost 6 years, said...

Very informative. On all topics love this site thanks

about 7 years, said...

i like ur article and it really gives an outstanding idea that is very helpful for all the people on the web

almost 8 years, said...

Avoidance techniques can be talking incessantly and illogical responses to misunderstood questions can result in assumptions that mental awareness is deteriorating. It makes a visitor's or carer's time with them frustrating - a vicious circle since if interaction or a normal conversation becomes difficult, it becomes less and less desirable to be a visitor.