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Our hearing is one of the most important senses we have. It can help us stay connected with our friends and family or warn us of danger, like hearing the smoke alarm go off. So, when age-related hearing loss starts to manifest, it can be frustrating and scary. Although most of us will lose some of our hearing as we age, there are steps we can take to be proactive in our hearing health.

What Is Presbycusis?

Presbycusis is another term for age-related hearing loss. One of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults, approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages 65 and 74 have hearing loss.

Age-related hearing loss most often occurs in both ears equally and is most often caused by changes in the inner ear as we age. However, it can also be caused by long-term exposure to noise, such as music or work-related noise. Most older people who experience hearing loss have a combination of the two.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Because the loss is gradual, many people with age-related hearing loss don’t realize they have lost some of the ability to hear. Symptoms of presbycusis can include:

  • Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds
  • Hearing the speech of others as mumbled or slurred
  • Hearing men’s voices easier than women’s
  • Experiencing tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in one or both ears
  • Certain sounds that seem overly loud or annoying
  • Having difficulty understanding conversations, especially if there is background noise

Certain risk factors can affect the chance of age-related hearing loss as well. Those include:

  • Inherited factors in your genetics
  • Various health conditions, like heart disease or diabetes
  • Continuous exposure to loud noise
  • Loss of hair cells, or sensory receptors, in the inner ear
  • Some medication side effects, such as aspirin and certain antibiotics

Tips to Prevent Presbycusis

While scientists don’t know how to completely prevent age-related hearing loss, there are ways you can protect yourself to get the most out of your hearing.

  • Avoid loud noises and try to reduce noise exposure. Be aware of potential sources of damaging noises like loud music, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and firearms. Noise exposure can damage the sensory hair cells in your ear that allow you to hear. Once these are damaged, they do not grow back and the ability to hear decreases.
  • Wear ear plugs or earmuffs to prevent further hearing damage. Our audiologists at Sonora Hearing Care, LLC, offer a range of custom hearing protection that is functional, durable, and professionally made.
  • Obtain a baseline audiogram yearly from the audiologists at Sonora Hearing Care, LLC, to catch hearing changes early. Meeting with an audiologist will allow you to discuss your specific needs and receive individualized recommendations.

Hearing loss doesn’t have to be inevitable. Call our office today at 520-881-8740 to schedule your consultation.