Senior Care & Challenges

The connection between hearing loss in old age and tinnitus

hearing loss and tinnitus

According to research on hearing loss in seniors, about 14% of seniors above 60 face some level of hearing loss. Based on various factors the level of hearing changes person to person as one ages. While it’s not a life-threatening medical condition, it will definitely affect the quality of life of a senior.

Stay with us until the end of the blog to learn more about age-related hearing loss, ringing sound in ears, hearing aids, and ways to keep your ears healthy as you age.

What is age-related hearing loss? 

Age-related hearing loss, medically known as Presbycusis, is a progressive hearing condition in seniors. The gradual deterioration of parts in the ear, bodily changes, diabetes, heart conditions, heredity, and side effects of medications contribute to hearing loss.

What exactly causes hearing loss in old age?

The hair cells in the inner ear pick up sound waves and change them into nerve signals. The auditory nerves carry these sound waves to the brain to be interpreted as sound. Hearing loss occurs when these hair cells are damaged, or dead. As these cells do not regrow, it causes permanent hearing loss.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is not an age-related issue, but it is caused by exposure to loud noises for a long time. Tinnitus is a constant ringing sensation in the ear and it’s one of the many symptoms of hearing loss.

This is caused by the decreased or complete absence of the nerve activity in the auditory nerves. Auditory nerves connect the inner ear with the auditory function section in the brain. Inactivity or damage to this nerve makes the brain pick up all sorts of sounds in the surroundings, causing a continuous ringing sensation.

What is the relation between age-related hearing loss and tinnitus?

A study says that about 95% of people with tinnitus experience hearing loss. Tinnitus can interfere with hearing loss, but it does not, in any way, cause hearing loss. But if you are diagnosed with tinnitus, you certainly have some level of hearing loss even though you never noticed it.

Based on the nature of hearing loss, tinnitus sounds in the ear may change. For example, if a person could not hear high-pitched frequencies, the person might experience a high-pitched ringing sensation. It is called the tinnitus pattern and it might be different from person to person.

How to protect your ears from age-related hearing loss?

Age-related hearing loss can occur as a result of lifestyle habits over the years. One may not be able to prevent hearing loss in old age but can certainly manage it with the help of aids and hearing implants.

Protecting the tiny hair cells when they are healthy is the foremost thing to do to avoid hearing loss in old age.

  • Wear protective gear when you are working in an atmosphere where loud noises are common
  • If you are a music lover, keep the sound at minimal level and avoid listening to music on a stretch
  • Get your ears checked periodically to avoid ear wax blockages which might lead to ear infections
  • Eat healthy and exercise daily to keep your balance and the balancing fluids in the ear at healthy levels

If you are a senior who has already been diagnosed with some level of hearing loss, you still can experience your life without missing out on the quality of your day.

Consult your ENT specialist:  

  • The better way to address your hearing loss is by consulting an ENT specialist and an audiologist
  • If they suggest a hearing aid, wear it as recommended and undergo the training as prescribed
  • Always wear the hearing aid at all costs unless you are off to bed

Practice effective communication:

  • Listening to people when they talk might have been an involuntary function you did all along but start paying attention to them to understand better
  • Try to reduce background noises to listen better. Turn off the TV or music when you are trying to communicate with your family members

Practice patience:

  • It is easy for one to get frustrated as hearing loss can affect in many ways in life. Practice patience and the hearing aid tips as suggested by your audiologist
  • Involve in mindfulness activities as they help not only mentally but also physically by bringing down your blood pressure and promoting calmness

If you are a senior living alone,

  • If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss and if you are living alone, it is better to switch to alternative senior living options such as assisted living facilities.
  • These facilities are built to help seniors with various medical issues that include hearing loss
  • By supporting you in each of your daily activities, the expert caregivers at these facilities help you regain your quality of life, again!



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