Hearing loss is a common challenge for older adults. One in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 have some degree of hearing loss. For seniors over the age of 75, the rate is one in two. These losses in hearing can make it difficult for seniors to participate in conversations, hear phones or doorbells, and more.
On the one hand, age-related hearing loss is largely a natural thing. While hearing loss throughout your life can certainly be exacerbated by significant or consistent exposure to noise—from loud concerts to cacophonous worksites—most age-related hearing loss occurs due to changes that happen in the inner or middle ear as we get older. In other words, nobody should feel ashamed of not being able to hear as well as they used to.
On the other hand, though, hearing loss is a problem for seniors, if only because many older adults aren’t doing anything to address the changes in their hearing. Numerous studies have linked hearing loss to dementia and cognitive decline. Indeed, if you have mild hearing loss, you are 30 percent more likely to develop dementia or some other cognitive issue. That rate jumps to 42 percent if you have moderate hearing loss and 50 percent if you have severe hearing loss.
The holiday season is a perfect time to assess your hearing, or to pay attention to how an aging loved one is interacting. If you find yourself asking other people to repeat themselves in conversation, or if a parent or grandparent seems withdrawn during a family dinner, then now might be the right time to go in for a hearing test and get hearing aids.
The process is simple: make an appointment at your local hearing clinic for formal hearing test. Based on your results, your doctor will recommend a course of action for hearing correction. They can even help you find hearing aids that look and fit in just the way you want.
It’s also a perfect time to get hearing aids thanks to how the technology is evolving. Today’s hearing aids are often Bluetooth-enabled and controllable via mobile apps. It’s easy to adjust the levels of your hearing aids depending on the situation. For instance, if you’re driving and want to be fully present in a conversation with your passenger, you can turn down the volume on your left hearing aid to tune out the road noise. This flexibility makes hearing aids more responsive and useful than ever before.
Bottom line, if you can’t seem to make out the words of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” this holiday season, make a resolution in the New Year to do something about it!