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22.05.2014

Hearing loss that occurs as a function of age is called, ringing in ears is getting louder - Review

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Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older.
Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.
Hearing depends on a series of events that change sound waves in the air into electrical signals. Sound waves enter the outer ear and travel through a narrow passageway called the ear canal, which leads to the eardrum.
As the hair cells move up and down, microscopic hair-like projections (known as stereocilia) that perch on top of the hair cells bump against an overlying structure and bend. The auditory nerve carries this electrical signal to the brain, which turns it into a sound that we recognize and understand. Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by long-term exposure to sounds that are either too loud or last too long.
Conditions that are more common in older people, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, can contribute to hearing loss. Rarely, age-related hearing loss can be caused by abnormalities of the outer ear or middle ear.
Most older people have a combination of both age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss. An audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist) has specialized training in identifying and measuring the type and degree of hearing loss. A hearing aid specialist is someone who is licensed by your state to conduct and evaluate basic hearing tests, offer counseling, and fit and test hearing aids. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your hearing loss, so some treatments will work better for you than others. Bone anchored hearing systems bypass the ear canal and middle ear, and are designed to use your body’s natural ability to transfer sound through bone conduction.


Lip reading or speech reading is another option that helps people with hearing problems follow conversational speech. The NIDCD is supporting research on the causes of age-related hearing loss, including genetic factors. The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, respond to warnings, and hear phones, doorbells, and smoke alarms. Because the loss is gradual, if you have age-related hearing loss you may not realize that you’ve lost some of your ability to hear. Most commonly, it arises from changes in the inner ear as we age, but it can also result from changes in the middle ear, or from complex changes along the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain. It can be difficult to distinguish age-related hearing loss from hearing loss that can occur for other reasons, such as long-term exposure to noise.
This kind of noise exposure can damage the sensory hair cells in your ear that allow you to hear.
Medications that are toxic to the sensory cells in your ears (for example, some chemotherapy drugs) can also cause hearing loss.
Such abnormalities may include reduced function of the tympanic membrane (the eardrum) or reduced function of the three tiny bones in the middle ear that carry sound waves from the tympanic membrane to the inner ear. However, you can protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss by protecting your ears from sounds that are too loud and last too long. The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek advice from a health care provider.
An otolaryngologist, sometimes called an ENT, will try to find out why you’re having trouble hearing and offer treatment options. You must be examined by a physician before you can be fitted for a hearing aid, although federal law allows you to sign a waiver if you don’t wish to be examined before you purchase an aid.


There are a number of devices and aids that help you hear better when you have hearing loss. Cochlear (COKE-lee-ur) implants are small electronic devices surgically implanted in the inner ear that help provide a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or hard-of-hearing. The more friends and family you tell, the more people there will be to help you cope with your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can also make it hard to enjoy talking with family and friends, leading to feelings of isolation. This partition is called the basilar membrane because it serves as the base, or ground floor, on which key hearing structures sit. If your hearing loss is severe, your doctor may recommend a cochlear implant in one or both ears. Other NIDCD-supported work is exploring medications that may reduce or prevent noise-induced and age-related hearing loss. Avoiding loud noises, reducing the amount of time you're exposed to loud noise, and protecting your ears with ear plugs or ear muffs are easy things you can do to protect your hearing and limit the amount of hearing you might lose as you get older. You might want to start with your primary care physician, an otolaryngologist, an audiologist, or a hearing aid specialist. Be sure to ask for a trial period with your hearing aid and understand the terms and conditions of the trial period.
Scientists supported by the NIDCD are also developing and refining devices that can be used to help people with age-related hearing loss.
Work with your hearing aid provider until you are comfortable with putting on and removing the hearing aid, adjusting the volume level, and changing the batteries.



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