What Should You Know About Hearing Loss In Older People

Hearing loss

When a senior family member or close friend experiences in hearing loss capacity. It’s not something they’ll readily share or that they may even be aware of themselves. Generally, the way you can tell is when you see behavioral differences. Look here for guidance as a loved one.

Conversations might be consistently interrupted by asking you to repeat what you said, or you might notice the volume on the TV is exceptionally loud when you view a film together. Your loved one might also start to mention that they can’t understand you when you speak, that you’re mumbling.

These are early signs of hearing loss and should be presented to a doctor right away for an adequate diagnosis to secure the underlying cause, find a solution for the issue, and prevent further damage.

Hearing challenges are detrimental to cognitive health for a person progressing in age, with unfortunate increases in risks for deteriorating functional capacity with greater possibilities for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Therefore, it’s critical to pay attention to the warning signs when hearing fails and reach out for assistance sooner rather than later.

Causes For Failed Hearing In Aged Adults

Hearing loss has numerous causes as people move into their senior years, whether exposure to deafening noises or responding to health conditions. The greater the age, the more likely there will be for failure due merely to age referenced as “presbycusis.”

The condition is a gradual and progressive loss due to inner ear changes from the aging process. Statistics indicate that approximately one out of three individuals from the 65 to 74 age group experiences difficulties with hearing, while nearly half of those over 75 are challenged.

The Importance Of Treating Sooner Rather Than Later

With proper diagnosis and a prompt solution, cognitive damages can occur in the brain relating to the failed hearing. Theories lead to a few conclusions for the cognitive decline:

  • Load:

The brain can’t handle the load of attempting to process the information coming in, plus decipher what someone is saying. The idea of remembering, responding, understanding, thinking, equates to overload with the person’s cognitive skills. It’s too much, almost burnout, and exhausting. Instead, the individual chooses only to concentrate on trying to hear what’s being said to them and forget the rest.

  • Atrophy:

The wasting away. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “use it or lose it,” that applies in this situation. When an aged individual ignores their cognitive skills in favor of using their listening skills, the unused portions tend to get lost or wasted, like when you don’t use a particular muscle group for a period. After a while, you don’t remember how to use those specific skills anymore.


  • Isolation:

Some seniors not only decide they don’t want to use their cognitive skills anymore, but they don’t want to try to listen either. They prefer to avoid other people altogether, instead completely isolating themselves.

That is something that should be avoidable if loved ones are paying attention. Please don’t allow your aged family or friend to push you out, no matter how insistent they become.

These are cases where prompt treatment for failed hearing was not received, leaving individuals to fall through the cognitive cracks, creating worse problems. That’s why it’s critical when you notice the slightest signs that your loved one can’t hear, you schedule an appointment with the proper medical provider.

Common Signs To Pay Attention To With Loved Ones Who Struggle To Hear

Primarily, when someone is having a challenge in their life like hearing problems, and they don’t quite understand what’s happening, their personality or behavior will change. That’s the first indication for you that something is wrong. A generally good-natured person will become agitated or frustrated and will likely start to avoid social situations.

Not only can this disability ultimately lead to cognitive problems, but people can confuse the inability to hear with dementia when they don’t realize the genuine issue at hand. Therefore, it’s vital to pay attention to warnings that start subtle so that you can get your loved one the care they need early to prevent worsening the problem and other issues resulting from the decline. There are signs of hearing loss in adults to educate yourself on. Some to watch for include:

  • Telephone:

Suppose you have regular telephone conversations, but your friend or family member does not answer or respond with inappropriate answers. In that case, it’s time to have a face-to-face discussion about seeing a professional to be test.

  • Lunch:

Suppose your loved one prepares lunch for everyone, but can’t keep up with the conversation when everyone is talking at once. In that case, there’s a challenge, especially if you notice any frustration or agitation in attempting to follow along.

  • TV: 

When the TV volume exceeds a certain decibel that no one can hear themselves think, but your loved one is comfortable with it, that’s a problem.

  • Social Setting:

When everyone goes out to a social function where there’s loads of ambient noise like in a club or even a restaurant, but your senior friend quietly sits. While everyone is having a good time, the person can likely not hear what’s happening over top of the noise.

  • Children:

If the person needs to have adults repeat what a child says to them, that’s a sign that hearing loss. Children speak exceptionally softly, so when there’s a challenge to hear to begin with, these voices are something that won’t register.


It can prove a delicate conversation to have with a person of any age. When approaching them about a potential health crisis. Still, for a person progressing in age, that’s especially tough because, in real terms, most are robust, determined, and focused on independence.

When it comes to hearing, though, many repercussions can transpire from ignoring a problem. Therefore, it’s critical to have the talk when signs make it prominent hearing is failing, but the person is either denying the issue or honestly unaware of what’s happening.

Early intervention means assigning a label and providing a solution to what was keeping the individual from living their best life and perhaps causing them to self-isolate, which no one involved in a senior person’s life should allow happening.

If you know someone whose behavior or personality drastically changes, even if it’s not necessarily due to hearing, help them get an appointment with a medical doctor. There is an underlying issue that the provider needs to identify and help resolve. Changes like that don’t happen without a cause.

Final Thought

Age is a reason for hearing to decline. Unfortunately, it’s part of the process, according to statistics. None of us like it, but none of us can change it. The thing that we need to do is deal with it and do so early so that it doesn’t affect other aspects of our health, including our brain health.

You might not see it yourself. Still, if a friend or family member comes and tells you there’s a problem, listen. Others see in us what we don’t always see firsthand, and that feedback is invaluable to our safety and wellbeing. Appreciate it, don’t criticize it.