Senior Citizens - Hearing Disorders and Treatment

A stage comes in the life of the elders when, otherwise healthy they start facing frustration due to the fact they are not able to hear well enough to enjoy talking with friends or family. They may also have trouble understanding a doctor's advice, responding to warnings, and hearing doorbells and alarms.


Hearing disorders make it hard, but not impossible, to hear. Deafness need not keep you from hearing sound at all. In most of the cases with proper treatment and use of the hearing aids, they are once again in the group.


To understand why this occurs, you must try to first off all understand what causes hearing loss. Research on the subject of hearing impairment and old age have suggested the following causes:

·         Diseases such as ear infections and meningitis

·         Trauma

·         Head injury

·         Blood circulation problems such as high blood pressure.

·         Certain medicines

·         Long-term exposure to loud noise

·         Heredity

·         Aging – (As a person ages, Presbycusis occurs due to the  changes in the inner ear, auditory nerve, middle ear, or outer ear.


There are two main types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. The cause may be earwax build-up, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. Medical or surgical treatment can usually restore conductive hearing loss.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is permanent.

Hearing loss comes in many forms. It can range from a mild loss in which a personmisses certain high-pitched sounds, such as the voices of women and children, to a total loss of hearing.


If timely action is not taken, hearing the problems can get worse. If you have trouble hearing, you must visit your doctor immediately. Proper and timely treatments include hearing aids, special training, certain medicines and surgery can definitely cure it or at least give you some hearing power.


Hearing Loss in Senior Citizens:


The hearing loss in the senior citizens is due to age and is defined as presbycusis. It comes on gradually as a person ages. Presbycusis can occur because of changes in the inner ear, auditory nerve, middle ear, or outer ear. Some of its causes are aging, loud noise, heredity, head injury, infection, illness, certain prescription drugs, and circulation problems such as high blood pressure.


Presbycusis commonly affects people over 50, many of whom are likely to lose some hearing each year. Having presbycusis may make it hard for a person to tolerate loud sounds or to hear what others are saying



Tinnitus, also common in older people, is the ringing, hissing, or roaring sound in the ears frequently caused by exposure to loud noise or certain medicines. Tinnitus is a symptom and not a disease, so it can accompany any type of hearing loss.


Tinnitus can also be a sign of other important health problems, such as allergies and problems in the heart and blood vessels. Tinnitus can come and go, or it can persist or stop altogether.



Quite a few people do not want to admit that they have hearing problem. Elder people who can not hear well may become depressed or withdraw from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said. It is easy to mistakenly call elder people confused, unresponsive, or uncooperative just because they do not hear well.


Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse. If you have a hearing problem, you can get help. See your doctor. Hearing aids, special training, certain medicines, and surgery are some of the choices that can help people with hearing problems.




  1. Do I have a problem hearing on the telephone?
  2. Do I have trouble hearing when there is noise in the background?
  3. Is it hard for me to follow a conversation when two or more people talk at once?
  4. Do I have to strain to understand a conversation?
  5. Do many people I talk to seem to mumble or not speak clearly?
  6. Do I misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?
  7. Do I often ask people to repeat themselves?
  8. Do I have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?
  9. Do people complain that I turn the TV volume up too high?
  10. Do I hear a ringing, roaring, or hissing sound a lot?
  11. Do some sounds seem too loud?

If you answer yes to these 10 questions, you have a hearing problem. It is time you must visit your family doctor and discuss it with him in detail.



Kindly make note of all the points you wish to discuss. In some cases, the doctor can identify the problem and prescribe necessary treatment.

Your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist. This doctor and surgeon have special training in problems of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck.

An otolaryngologist will try to find out why you have a hearing loss and offer treatment options. He or she will ask you for your medical history, ask if other family members have hearing problems, do a thorough exam, and prescribe any needed tests.


The tests that an audiologist performs are painless. Audiologists do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. If you need a hearing aid, an audiologist can help you choose the right one.


If case medication dose not work, today a large number of excellent hearing aids are available which can be used by you.



A hearing aid is an electronic, battery-operated device that makes sounds louder and audible.


Hearing aids come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Some hearing aids fit inside the outer ear or the ear canal, while others fit behind the ear.

Hearing aids come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Some hearing aids fit inside the outer ear or the ear canal, while others fit behind the ear. Digital hearing aids use a computer chip to process sounds, and are the most flexible in adjusting to different environments. They are also the most expensive.


An audiologist can help you determine if a hearing aid, or even two hearing aids, is the right treatment for you. Wearing two hearing aids may help balance sounds, improve your understanding of words in noisy situations, and make it easier to locate the source of sounds.


Other devices also can help you hear in certain listening environments. TV listening systems help you enjoy television or radio without being bothered by other sounds around you. Some hearing aids can be plugged directly into TVs, stereos, microphones, and personal FM systems to help you hear well.


Some telephones work with certain hearing aids to make sounds louder and remove background noise. And some auditoriums, movie theaters, and other public places are equipped with special sound systems that send sounds directly to your ears.


Alerts such as doorbells, smoke detectors, and alarm clocks can give you a signal that you can see or a vibration that you can feel. For example, a flashing light can let you know someone is at the door or on the phone.



In case hearing aids do not work for you or the hearing loss problem is not rectified you can go in for a cochlear implant, which is a small electronic device that the surgeon places under the skin and behind the ear. The device picks up sounds, changes them to electrical signals, and sends them past the non-working part of the inner ear and on to the brain.


A cochlear implant does not restore or create normal hearing. Instead, it can help people who are deaf or who have a severe hearing loss be more aware of their surroundings and understand speech, sometimes well enough to use the telephone.


But learning to interpret sounds from the implant takes time and practice. A speech-language pathologist and audiologist can help you with this part of


Researchers are studying the causes of hearing loss as well as new treatments. For example, they are studying ways to improve hearing aids so that wearers can hear sounds more clearly with little background noise. May this year or the next a ZERO DEFECT hearing aid is available.

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