Finding Solutions for Age-Related Hearing Loss
According to the National Institute on Aging, roughly one in three older adults experience hearing loss, and this likelihood increases as we age. Factors like prolonged exposure to loud noises, certain health conditions, and family history can all contribute to hearing problems.
Some people may not realize their hearing has declined. Hearing loss doesn’t always mean complete deafness – it can also mean hearing sounds less clearly. Look out for these signs:
- Struggling to understand phone conversations
- Constantly asking others to repeat themselves
- Needing to turn up the volume on devices like TVs or radios to an unusually high level
- Having difficulty hearing conversations in noisy environments
- Experiencing a sudden ringing or buzzing in your ears
- Experiencing hearing difficulties in one ear
- Noticing a change in hearing after starting certain medications
Bear in mind, hearing loss can impact cognitive health, with memory and concentration often declining faster in older adults with hearing loss than those with normal hearing. That’s why it’s so important to notice changes in your hearing and seek medical advice if needed.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can help if you or a loved one are dealing with hearing issues:
- Closed Captioning: All TVs and computers have this feature. It provides on-screen text of the dialogue and sounds.
- Hearing aids: Modern hearing aids are discreet and often virtually invisible. They’re covered under Medicaid/Mass Health, but not Medicare. Check with your private health insurer to see if they’re covered or consult your local hearing doctor for other financial assistance options.
- Cochlear implants: These surgically implanted devices transform sound into electrical signals your brain can understand.
- Captioned telephone services: Free services like Caption Call let you read what the other person is saying during a phone call. This service works with landline phones and is also available as a mobile app.
Remember, noticing the signs of hearing loss and seeking the right assistance can greatly improve your quality of life.