What is hearing loss? One of most common conditions of older adults (30% up to 74 years, 47% 75+ years) Can be mild (only missing high pitched sounds) to total loss of hearing Hereditary or disease Two categories: Sensorineural (damage to inner ear, permanent) Conductive (sound waves can’t reach inner ear, might be treatable) http://nihseniorhealth.gov/hearingloss/hearinglossde fined/01.html
Presbycusis • Comes on gradually as we age • Can occur because of changes in ear • Causes: aging, loud noise, heredity, head injury, infection, illness, drugs, circulation • May make it hard to tolerate loud sounds or hear what others are saying
Tinnitus • Common symptom of hearing loss • Characterized by ringing, hissing or roaring in ears • Can be caused by exposure to loud noise or medicines • Symptom, not a disease • Can also be sign of other important health problems like allergies & problems in heart & blood vessels
Causes & prevention Aging not only cause Also ear infection, medicines such as antibiotics or even aspirin Hereditary Loud noise (avoid loud noise from lawnmowers, snowblowers, motorcycles, firecrackers and loud music) Remove excess ear wax Avoid illness which can cause infection
Should I test my hearing? Problem hearing on the phone? Trouble hearing when there is background noise? Hard to talk with more than 2 at a time? Strain to understand? Misunderstand speech? Often ask to repeat? Trouble understanding women and children speech? Do you listen to TV too high? Hear ringing, roaring, hissing? Are some sounds too loud?
Treatment & research Hearing aids: 25 – 29% 70 years and older wear them Many shapes, sizes Analog or digital Analog may be adjusted with computer for different environments Digital use computer chip and most flexible. Also most expensive Other options: TV listening systems, hearing aids that plug into TVs, stereos, microphones Telecoil small magnetic coil that allows users to receive sound through hearing aid rather than microphone. Can also work with sound systems in large gatherings like churches, schools, airports
Small electronic deviceOther treatments: placed under skin & behind earCochlear Implants Picks up sounds, changes to electrical signals, sends to non-working part of inner ear and brain. Doesn’t restore or create normal hearing, but helps people become aware of surroundings & understand speech Does require training on how to interpret sounds
How cochlear implants work: External microphone & speech processor Worn behind ear Transmitter sends radiofrequency signals to surgically implanted electronic chip (receiver – stimulator) which stimulates auditory nerve with electrodes threaded through cochleahttp://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical/IM03853