If you experience signs of hearing loss or you care for some who you suspect might be affected, it is important to understand hearing loss and age-related hearing loss in particular. In most cases, it is a manageable condition, and with the right care quality of life of the person with hearing loss can remain high. 10 Facts About Age Related Hearing Loss
1. One of the organisations that look to 'push" the hard of hearing agenda in the UK is called 'Action on Hearing Loss'. In 2005, Action on Hearing Loss (then the RNID - The Royal National Institute for Deaf People) published survey results about the estimated number of individuals with hearing loss in the UK. 9 million hard of hearing was the estimated figure!
2. Amongst the 9 million people with hearing loss, 6 million were found to be over the age of 65. The most common reason for hearing loss was found to be age related or presbycusis
by its medical term, followed by hearing loss caused primarily by prolonged exposure to loud noise (noise-induced hearing loss).
3. Age related hearing loss is not only exclusively seen in people over the age of 65 signs of age-related hearing loss can be seen in younger individuals some age-related deterioration in hearing ability can be observed as early as some people's 40s. The gradual deterioration in hearing over the years makes this type of hearing loss perhaps easy to ignore until the effects are very noticeable.
4. It would appear that the majority of us will experience some degree of hearing loss as we age, however the degree of hearing loss varies from one person to the next based on family history, exposure to noise during the years, life style choices and overall health. For some, the degree of hearing loss will have little impact on quality of life, for others a profound one.
5. Hearing loss that is left unmanaged can lead to other well-documented issues including social exclusion and reduced interaction with others, feelings of anxiety, worry or even depression all contributing to diminished quality of life. Age-related hearing loss should never be accepted as a condition that someone has to just live with.
6. To relieve any concerns about a possible hearing loss, a hearing test should be undertaken. The relatively quick and non-invasive test is available through the NHS, via a referral from your GP (or care home physician) or by attending a local private hearing centres directly.
7. It is good practice to have ones hearing tested every 2-3 three years. Some professionals may also recommend that those over the age of 65 or who already wear a hearing aid should aim for an annual check. Frequent tests will ensure that any hearing loss or change of hearing loss is picked up relatively soon and suitable management offered.
8. Once the reason for and degree of hearing loss is established, a number of options will be presented. Age related hearing loss is an irreversible condition. Treatment options offer means to manage the condition and limit the effect on ones quality of life. They are not means to cure the condition.
9. The most common solution offered are hearing aids. Hearing aids are micro-computers which are enclosed in a variety of shapes and styles to fit in or around the ear of the wearer. At a basic level, hearing aids aim to amplify within the frequency areas where the hearing loss exists. They are light and, for the most part, a lot more discreet than many people may think.
10. Over 1.4 million people in the UK wear hearing aids on a daily basis. These are available privately and from the NHS
. The UK is one of the most advanced nations when it comes to the supply and use of hearing aids, mainly due to the continued free provision of hearing aids within the National Health Service. If you have any further questions about hearing loss, you should contact your GP. Article written by Joan McKechnie, BSc Hons Audiology & Speech Pathology of hearing aid company Hearing Direct, Hampshire based company.