The age-related hearing loss is the second most common old age complaints. 1 in 3 people over 60, 2 of 3 people over 70 and 4 of 5 people over 85 have hearing loss. But the heartening fact is that they don’t have to live with it. New age science has led to breakthrough medical devices that gift them back their hearing capabilities.
WHAT IS PRESBYCUSIS?
Presbycusis is the most prevalent type of Sensorineural Hearing Loss that is caused by the natural degeneration of the auditory system because of ageing. The hearing disorder occurs gradually, and in the initial stages, the patient will have difficulty in hearing higher pitched sounds. Increasingly, the person’s ability to listen to the sounds with low-pitched frequencies will also come down. Nearly, 30-35 percent of adults aged 65 years and older, and 40-50 percent of adults aged 75 years and older are estimated to suffer from hearing loss.
For patients suffering from Presbycusis, the sounds produced in the surroundings seem unclear and lower in volume. This leads to difficulty in hearing and comprehending speech. Depending on the severity, patients suffering from Presbycusis may experience the following symptoms:
- The speech of others seem unclear and indistinct
- High-pitched sounds such as “s” and “th” becomes tough to hear
- With background noise, it will be difficult to hold conversations
- People may also experience ringing, roaring or hissing sounds in one or both ears
Presbycusis is a Sensorineural Hearing Disorder. The primary cause behind Presbycusis arises from the changes in the inner ear as result of cumulative effects of the natural ageing process. This leads to the loss of hair cells in the cochlea, the organ which senses sound in the surroundings. Present health condition and use of certain medicines can also contribute to Presbycusis. Noise-induced hearing loss can further intensify the effects of Presbycusis.
Since Presbycusis is a result of the natural ageing process, nothing can be done to prevent or cure it. However, this condition can be managed with the help of some electronic hearing devices.
- Cochlear implant: is a tiny electronic hearing device designed for the people who have a severe hearing loss. It senses the sound signals produced in the environment, bypasses the damaged ear cells, and stimulates the auditory nerve, which in turn produces sensations of sound and sends these signals to the brain
- Assistive Listening Device: works based on the FM technology and is interconnected either with hearing aid or cochlear implant. This device is helpful in coping up with the excessive background noise in a classroom setting
- Hearing Aid: is recommended for the people with residual hearing ability. This device receives sounds produced in the surroundings, amplifies the sound waves and sends them back to ear through a speaker aiding damaged ear to hear them