Managing Hearing Loss in Elderly

By Dr. Sumit Mrig in ENT(Ear Nose Throat)

Mar 19 , 2020 | 1 min read

What is hearing loss in old age or elderly population?

  • Hearing loss or PRESBYCUSIS is a physiological age related process which occurs in all individuals in their old age and like other organs in the body which also undergoes wear & tear.

What is the cause of hearing loss in elderly people?

  • It is due to degeneration of outer hair cells of the cochlea (sensory organ of hearing) or due to neural degeneration.

Can hearing loss be prevented or stopped from progressing?

  • As with other body parts, hearing loss normally sets in all individuals whether at the age of 50, 60 or 70 yrs and once started cannot be prevented spontaneously.

How to assess whether one has started developing hearing loss?

  • Difficulty in routine conversations.
  • Increasing the volume of the television or radio than before.
  • Difficulty in telephonic conversations.

How can one treat hearing loss?

  • As soon as you realizethat the above signs are positive consult your ENT specialist and get your hearing evaluated.
  • Majority of the people show SENSORI NEURAL loss and require appropriate HEARING AID .

  • Addition of antioxidants also to some extent can prevent progression of hearing loss.

How to decide that when to use hearing aid?

  • Get routine screening of hearing status and if 2 successive hearing tests show progression of hearing loss then consult your ENT specialist&Audiologist.

Can all hearing loss be treated with hearing aids?

  • Hearing aids work till the hearing loss is severe but beyond that when hearing loss becomes profound (beyond 90 – 100 db) even hearing aids fail to help.

What is the treatment if hearing aids do not help?

  • Cochlear implant is a device which directly stimulates the neurons of the cochlear nerve and by passes cochlear & is done in patients with BILATERAL PROFOUND HEARING LOSS.
  • The results of Cochlear implant surgery is very rewarding in elderly as the patient already has a very good speech & just requires sound signal in the ear.

What can be done to prevent progression of hearing    loss once it has started ?

  • Consult your ENT specialist regularly.
  • Regular hearing evaluation every 6 months.
  • Get a hearing aid before it’s too late.
  • Healthy diet & avoid stress.
  • Avoid drugs which are toxic to the ears. Your ENT specialist will be able to give you more information on this.