Is Age-Related Hearing Loss Normal?
Often once the first signs of hearing loss present, people begin to wonder whether age-related hearing loss is to be expected and normal for their age.
This is a common question for audiologists that we're asked by patients all the time - so don't worry, you're not alone. However, it's a difficult one to answer as we don’t actually classify hearing test results based on age.
How do we measure if hearing is 'normal'?
A lot of people make the assumption that as they are ageing, hearing loss is to be expected, and with the statistics surrounding age related hearing loss (presbycusis) it makes sense, too;
"one adult in five and more than half of all people over the age of 80 suffer from hearing loss". - hearit.org
In actuality, there is a range (like most things in health) for what is considered normal based on what information we need to understand a typical conversation.
So, if you are diagnosed with a hearing loss (despite age), it wouldn’t be considered 'normal'. This is mostly due to the fact that, yes, hearing loss is more common with age, but that doesn’t make it “normal”. In fact, any amount of hearing loss can complicate communication and reduce quality of life, regardless of age, and it shouldn't be something anyone should have to live with just because they're 'ageing'.
Why does our hearing change as we age?
We aren’t exactly sure why our hearing changes as we age but the challenges associated with hearing loss throughout all stages of life are nearly identical regardless of how many candles you have on your birthday cake.
This means that someone in their 20's with hearing loss will have similar difficulties as someone in their 70's (depending on the type and degree of hearing loss, of course).
If you’re celebrating another birthday and noticing some of the common symptoms of hearing loss, it’s worth getting a hearing check. Just because something occurs more commonly with age, does not mean it should be ignored. Adding an annual hearing check to your health physical is an easy way to keep track of your hearing.
For more information on the common symptoms of hearing loss, take a look at our recent blog)
Want to find out more about age-related hearing loss?
Noticing your own hearing change during the process of ageing (or even watching a loved one go through this) can raise a lot of questions and bit a bit overwhelming. The good news is, there's a tonne of information out there that can help you to assess what stage your hearing is at, why it is happening - and finally what you can do about it.
We've put together a guide to answer the most common questions we receive from patients concerned with aged-related hearing loss and hearing aids. You can download it for FREE, here.
make that appointment
And give yourself a pat on the back for being proactive
Great news - a FREE basic hearing check is available to everyone aged 18 and over.