For most people, the process of growing older includes some experiences that are less than pleasant, such as age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis. Unlike hearing loss that results from an injury or illness, presbycusis can progress very slowly and may not be recognized in its early stages. 

Early stages

Presbycusis may first present as a lessened ability to hear higher-pitched sounds, like alarms, timers and the ring of a telephone. Because deeper, lower-pitched sounds can still be heard, one of the signs of age-related hearing loss is often an increased need to adjust the volume higher and higher when watching TV, talking on the phone or listening to music. 

As the level of hearing loss increases, conversations can become difficult to follow, especially in situations where background noise is present, such as in a moving car or in a crowded restaurant. Because male voices are often deeper than female voices, people with age-related hearing loss may be more easily able to hear male voices.  

It is interesting to note that age-related hearing loss is more apt to affect those who have had long-term exposure to high levels of sound, such as years of listening to loud music or working in a noisy environment. It can also be more prevalent in people with diabetes or heart disease and those who take some forms of antibiotics or aspirin. 

Finding relief

If you feel you may be suffering from age-related hearing loss, your medical care provider can refer you to a hearing specialist, called an audiologist. Testing will be performed to determine the level of hearing loss in each ear. 

Hearing loss solely related to age is usually unable to be reversed, but it is possible to utilize hearing devices and technology to hear better and live a more normal life. Many people affected by age-related hearing loss find that using hearing aids can help them continue their daily activities at work, at home, and in social situations with less confusion and frustration.

If the hearing loss is advanced, it may be necessary to consider adding special telephonic amplification technology to home phones and using closed captioning when watching television.

If necessary, learning how to speech-read is an option for those with a hearing impairment. This training can help you recognize visual clues to better understand what is being said when someone is speaking. 

To learn more about age-related hearing loss, including relevant advancements in hearing aid technology, take time to discuss your needs and concerns with a reputable hearing aid service provider in your area.