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Old age hearing loss

Dr. Ankur
Jan. 13, 2011

Old age is dreaded by everyone as it weakens the body and limits the physical capabilities.  Immunity and working capacity dwindles and so does the strength of other organs in the body. Weakening of eyesight or old age hearing loss is a common problem, especially during the seventies and eighties.

Loud noise or heavy music can be annoying to a normal person, but for an old person who has less listening capacity these sounds appear normal instead of deafening. Have you noticed any of your grandparents enjoying music on television or audio track in high volume? Well, when the hearing ability starts lessening old people do not immediately understand the problem. And if they are used to living alone, then they simply feel that the volume of TV is low and just go on increasing it.  This old age hearing loss is clinically termed as Presbycusis.

Early stage of Presbycusis

·         When you start increasing the sound of any audio or video program more than you always needed to hear clearly, it is a clear cut proof that your ability to hear is weakening.  

·         When regular noise of horns, whistle does not make you shriek as before it is a symptom that Presbycusis is stepping in.

·         Very regular sounds like running tap water or screeching of chair due to pushing do not have any irritating effect; your hearing ability is getting impaired.

Reasons of Presbycusis

By the time you reach old age, your organs have been used to their limits. But even then some organs still function well while some loose their sensitivity and ability to function to the hilt. Weakening of immunity, eye sight or hearing is a common thing.

Hearing ability depends upon the strength of cochlear hair cells. These cells due to overuse or any other reasons like injury near brain, jaw, cheek, teeth or directly to the ear can get damaged. If not treated properly, these cells become weak over the time and then loose their high frequency ability to catch even the smallest of sound. More the damage to the cells less will be the hearing capacity.

Although the damage to the cochlear hair cells starts from the middle age itself, its repercussions and effects are seen during old age when you cross sixties. Hearing loss is mostly seen in male adults as compared to female.

Most prominent cause of Presbycusis

Presbycusis is a natural phenomenon and can occur to any old person. But the cases have increased more in the past decade and noise pollution is the main culprit. Deafening noise of traffic, sirens, horns, machines and habit to hear loud ear storming music damage the capacity of the cochlear hair cells. Hence, this old age hearing loss is fast becoming middle age hearing loss as the symptoms are now being noticed in people even in their thirties and forties.

God has given everyone the most wonderful quality in the form of ability to hear. It’s time you understand its value and stop misusing it. If steps are taken in the youth, your hearing capability can be retained for years together.

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