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What Causes Hearing Loss in Seniors?

an elderly man struggles to cope with his hearing loss and seeks to find the root cause of it to treat it

Health and wellness are just as important for seniors as they are for younger adults, teens, and children. However, the specific areas of health-related concern often differ significantly between these age groups. For seniors, one common concern is hearing loss—roughly one-third of seniors below the age of 75 experience this problem. The rate is even higher in those aged 75 or older. What explains this dramatically increased level of risk among seniors? Simply put, older adults are exposed to multiple potential causes of hearing loss.

The senior living specialists at Buckner Parkway Place understand the struggles seniors face with hearing loss and are here to help. Learn more about what causes hearing loss in seniors by calling 281.305.1846.

What Causes Hearing Loss in Seniors?

Many factors can contribute to hearing loss in seniors, including age-related issues, certain health conditions, exposure to loud noise, side effects of medications, and hereditary conditions.

Age-Related Loss

Many seniors gradually lose some of their hearing as they grow older. The formal name for this age-related hearing loss is presbycusis. Presbycusis has several potential underlying causes, including:

  • Age-related changes in your inner ear
  • Similar changes in your middle ear
  • Several overlapping changes in the nerves that connect your ears and brain

Certain kinds of health conditions can also play a role in triggering presbycusis. The same holds true for the side effects of certain medications.

Age-related hearing loss appears to be at least partially hereditary. Most affected people experience problems with both ears. However, presbycusis may only occur in one ear. Its effects can be quite slow and subtle. You may not notice them until you have lost a substantial amount of your hearing.

Health Conditions

A number of health issues may also act as hearing loss causes for seniors. Two of the most likely sources are high blood pressure and diabetes. Other conditions that may also play a role include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Ear infections
  • Other viral or bacterial infections
  • A traumatic brain injury

In addition, tumors that affect your auditory nerves may cause or contribute to senior hearing loss.

Exposure to Loud Noises

Some of the other potential causes of hearing loss in seniors are not limited mainly to older adults. One common example here is exposure to loud noises. Most people experience this kind of exposure at one time or another. Depending on your situation, you may have been exposed fairly often. An extremely loud noise like a nearby gunshot can produce immediate hearing loss. However, this kind of loss is often the result of multiple exposures over time.

Medication Side Effects

No matter your age, certain medications can increase your risk of hearing loss. Some of these medications are used to treat cancer and other major health concerns. However, high doses of a commonplace medication like aspirin can also contribute to damaged hearing.

Hereditary Conditions

Some seniors are affected by hereditary forms of hearing loss. An inherited condition can interfere with your hearing from the time you are born. But it may also manifest as you grow older. One potential issue for middle-aged adults and seniors is otosclerosis. This condition is marked by abnormal bone growth inside your ear. In at least some cases, otosclerosis is the result of genetic inheritance.

Learn More About the Causes of Hearing Loss in Seniors at Parkway Place

Pinpointing the source of senior hearing loss is important. That’s true, in part, because uncorrected loss can increase your risks for dementia and other serious problems. Testing conducted by hearing specialists will help reveal any significant issues affecting you. You can also consult the senior living experts at Parkway Place for more information.

Parkway Place includes accommodations for hearing loss among our many services for seniors. No matter the extent of support you require in retirement, we have a program designed to suit your needs. To get started, just call us today at 281.305.1846 or complete our online message form.