Have you ever imagined a situation where your dear and near ones are chatting in front of you but you cannot make out anything? Wouldn’t it be a huge mental stress for you? Yes, that is exactly the reason why tests for hearing and preventive interventions are a necessity to ensure quality of life in old age.
Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis, is the slow loss of hearing that occurs as age advances. Most people above 60 are affected; especially for high-frequency sounds. Hearing loss can result from hardening and narrowing of blood vessels that supply blood to cochlea, exposure to noise over the years, smoking, overweight, family history, etc. Heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes may also make the situation worse. Impacted earwax could be a common cause and easy to treat.
There is little that can be done to prevent age-related hearing loss. Never be frustrated with unexpected malfunctioning of a hearing aid. It is good to have a trial period to find the hearing aid which best suits you. You should also be comfortable and should master the techniques of adjusting the volume level and properly using it.
Adoption of healthy lifestyles might reduce the likelihood of hearing loss. Many elderly are reluctant to adopt hearing devices due to cost concerns. Remember, living with hearing loss and the late adoption of hearing aids can even result in psychiatric illnesses. Avoid loud noises or use ear plugs to prevent hearing loss in old age.
The author is chairman and managing director of Jothydev’s Diabetes Research Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi and geriatric expert