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Why do people lose their hearing when they age?

People lose their hearing when they age because of changes in the entire hearing system. Hearing loss due to the aging process is called presbycusis. In most cases, hearing loss happens slowly over time. It usually happens in both ears and may affect the person’s ability to understand speech
source ASHA.org

Why do so many older adults with hearing impairment refuse to use hearing aids?

Some people may not admit they are having trouble hearing. Denial is the most important barrier to hearing aid use. The following are some of the most common reasons that older people give for not using a hearing aid:

  • Everyone is mumbling, or they are not speaking up.
  • My hearing is not bad enough for a hearing aid.
  • It would make me feel old, or I’m too ashamed to wear one.
  • They cost too much.
What happens when you do not treat hearing loss?

People with hearing loss that is not treated are more likely to experience depression and worry compared to those who wear hearing aids. Hearing loss that is not treated may have serious emotional and social effects on older adults by:

  • cutting them off from family members and friends.
  • limiting social activities.
  • lowering their feeling of good health.
What can help older adults hear better?

Working together with a qualified hearing healthcare professional, older adults can evaluate the benefits of hearing aid use and learn to overcome some of the adverse effects that hearing loss can have on their quality of life. In addition, here are some tips that older adults can use for good listening:

  • Use appropriate hearing aids and assistive technology.
  • Get closer. Don’t try to listen to someone from another room. Go where the talker is.
  • Take listening breaks. You can focus better if you are rested.
  • Ask the person talking to slow down when he or she is talking too fast.
  • Ask the speaker to turn so that you can see his or her face.
  • Don’t bluff! Let the speaker know when you are having trouble hearing or understanding.
What can family members do to help?

Hearing loss affects not only the person with hearing loss but often family members as well. There are some simple things that family members and friends can do to help an older adult carry on a normal conversation:

  • Speak clearly and in a normal tone of voice.
  • Don’t shout. Shouting just makes it harder for the person with hearing loss to understand.
  • Get the person’s attention before speaking.
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth.
  • Talk in quieter places.
  • Build breaks into your conversation.
Types of hearing loss

There are three basic types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural, and mixed.
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not sent easily through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss makes sounds softer and less easy to hear. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) happens when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled.
Mixed hearing loss occurs when a conductive hearing loss happens in combination with an SNHL. In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve.

How do hearing aids work?

Hearing aids are electronic devices that collect sound, amplify it, and direct the amplified sound into the ear. While the style of hearing aid may vary, all hearing aids have similar components:

  • A microphone to pick up sound
  • An amplifier to make sounds louder
  • A receiver (miniature loudspeaker) to deliver the amplified sound into the ear
  • Batteries for power

Some hearing aids also have earmolds (or dome ear pieces) to direct the flow of sound into the ear and enhance sound quality.

What are the different styles of hearing aids?
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)

You can see these and learn more about the different styles of hearing aids on our Hearing Aids page.

How will our specialists help you pick the right device?

When considering the type of hearing aids or features you will need, the hearing healthcare provider will want to know about your lifestyle and activities. For example, do you…

  • Work or stay home?
  • Attend meetings, conferences, plays, movies, concerts, or worship services?
  • Communicate in mostly one-on-one situations or mostly in large or small groups?
  • Participate in sports?
  • Enjoy watching TV, talking on the phone, or traveling in the car?

Because hearing aids are so small, your hearing instrument specialist will also consider your ability to see and handle them.

What happens after you have your hearing test
  • We will carefully explain your test results.
  • Ask you about your lifestyle and listening demands.
  • Describe the various styles and features available and what would be most appropriate for you.
  • Schedule you to return for a hearing aid fitting, programming, and orientation.
  • Discuss the costs and possible available funding sources.
  • Provide a written contract that includes how much your hearing aids will cost and information about the fitting and follow-up.
What happens on the day you pick up your hearing aids
  • We will check to ensure that your hearing aids fit comfortably.
  • Evaluate your hearing aids to be sure they are set (programmed) for your hearing needs.
  • Show you how to insert and remove your hearing aids.
  • Teach you how to insert and remove the batteries and clean and care for your hearing aids.
  • Teach you how to use your hearing aid on the phone.
  • Discuss hearing assistive technology that may be helpful to you.
  • Schedule you to return for a follow-up visit,

Hearing Aid Services for 67 Years

Established in 1977 with over 67 years experience providing hearing health care to those with hearing loss.

19 Locations

Visit one of our 19 locations across west and middle TN for an audiometric evaluation by one of our licensed and nationally board certified hearing instrument specialists. 

With over 67 years of experience our professionals will help you find the right hearing instrument for your unique needs.