Hearing As You Age

One in three people has experienced hearing loss by the age of 74. After arthritis and heart disease, hearing impairment is the third most prevalent chronic condition in the U.S.

Hearing loss can occur at any age, and may be sudden or marked by a gradual decline. According to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders, the rate of hearing impairment increases in Americans as they age, with 18% of 45-64 year olds, 30% of 65-74 year olds, and 47% of those 75 years and older experiencing hearing loss.

Severity and permanence of one’s hearing loss is dependent on the specific cause of impairment. Many factors impact hearing: childhood infections, high fevers, long-term exposure to loud noises, and heredity. Aging plays a role, as age-related changes within the inner ear can cause a slow, steady decline.

Assistive devices, such as hearing aids, can compensate for permanent hearing loss. Your primary care physician can assess hearing with an exam, and recommend whether a hearing aid is best for your situation. In some cases you may be referred for ear wax removal in an ear clinic staffed with providers skilled in safe removal of the accumulation of wax.

Shell Point’s medical center offers a comprehensive array of specialty physicians and healthcare providers, including audiologists, to work with residents directly on campus. Often, this affords residents the opportunity to receive specialized care without leaving their community. Learn more about healthcare at Shell Point online at http://www.shellpoint.org/healthcare.php.