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Age-related hearing loss is on the rise and, on average, it takes 7-10 years for someone with a hearing loss to start looking for help.
Having hearing loss leads someone to be less aware of their surroundings and therefore more likely to fall. If either #2 or 3 are right, then getting a hearing aid or hearing implant could reduce the chances of falling. Having hearing loss tends to mean that someone does less physical activity.4 A moderate or worse hearing loss is associated with lower levels of physical activity.
As we’ve said, studies are indicating that hearing aids and hearing implants might help someone deal with these effects. For someone who’s eligible to receive a hearing implant, implantation is a routine procedure and there’s no upper age limit.6 Some recipients have been older than 90 when they got their hearing implant. About this blog:This is the official blog of MED-EL, a leader in implantable hearing loss solutions. The article contemplates the curious phenomenon that, while glasses are acceptable and widely used to correct defective vision, hearing aids seem to imply to many people that their wearers are past it.
Things are quite different with hearing, which can deteriorate considerably before we have the slightest inkling that things were not what they used to be. Yet by the time we are into our 40's many if not most of us will have lost a distinct and easily measurable amount of our hearing abilities compared to when we were younger - in our 20's and earlier - and the effects are progressive thereafter. This societal phenomenon results in some in middle age and beyond insisting there is nothing wrong with their hearing despite the fact they need the TV turned up so loud that it drives everybody else to distraction, or blaming others for speaking indistinctly when they do nothing of the sort, or having no idea what turn the conversation has taken in a noisy restaurant. In the UK one reason why consultations with audiologists are far too rare is because of the inexcusable lack of investment in diagnosing and treating hearing problems. It is a salutary experience to perform a rough check on one's hearing by employing the services of the younger members of the family. The curves in Figure 1 below show how we progressively lose the ability to hear the higher frequencies as we age. The sensitivity measurement on the vertical axis can be thought of as the amplitude of a pure tone (sine wave) at a given frequency which, when applied to headphones, just results in the perception of a sound at that frequency.
The lowest curve in Figure 1, labelled "20", is an average plot of the performance of a healthy ear of around that age. By the time men are 60 the difference is about 45 dB (the voltage now needs to be nearly 200 times larger than at age 20, a considerable amount). A feature of high frequency deafness for either gender is that it becomes total beyond a certain cut-off frequency - no matter how loud the sound beyond that point, we cannot hear it at all. A practical consequence of all this is that if you need the sound turned up more loudly than those with better hearing before you can follow the dialogue on TV programmes, it is virtually certain you will also have more difficulty hearing the top notes of an organ than they do.
Professional musicians and musical instrument technicians are potentially more at risk from another form of hearing degradation than members of the general population because of the high sound levels many of them are subjected to during the course of their work. Pipe organ voicers and tuners are similarly at risk, particularly when called on to spend hours or days on end voicing and regulating loud reeds or mixtures. The four short mp3 sound samples of an organ piece below are an attempt to demonstrate the progressive effects of age related hearing loss so that the foregoing remarks can perhaps be related to real life more easily.
The file entitled "age 20" represents the more or less perfect hearing which someone of that age or younger would normally enjoy. The sound sample entitled "age 40" is exactly the same extract as that above but now processed to represent the sound which an average male around age 40 might perceive.
The "age 60" and "age 80" sample files were produced in the same way, by processing the original "age 20" file in each case but with the progressive hearing deterioration suggested by the corresponding data in Figure 1. It should be noted that the effects you perceive when listening to these samples will only have meaning if your hearing is good to start with (corresponding to the age 20 data in Figure 1). As a rough guide of what to expect, I played these sound files to some people with excellent hearing but with varying experience of (and liking for!) organ music. It goes without saying that your sound system should be very good when listening to these samples, with loudspeakers of a quality comparable to audiophile headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 650.
There are two main implications of age related hearing loss for organists and the listeners in their audience.
The second implication of age-impaired hearing concerns tone quality or timbre, which is strongly influenced by the relative proportions of harmonics in the sounds. It is also important to consider the effects of hearing loss on an organ builder, and particularly a voicer. In the previous section the effects of hearing loss on organists and listeners were discussed by relating it to the regulation and tonal characteristics of the organ being played.
Eventually it is quite possible that the voicer would cease to be able to hear such a pipe. At quite an early stage in the ageing process, by mid-career, a voicer's aural judgement of the timbre of pipes much lower in the keyboard will have probably changed also. Therefore the sound samples discussed earlier are just as relevant to the voicer's situation as they are to the player and the listener. As well as regulation and the timbre of the pipes, there is a third implication for organ builders of high frequency deafness, and this concerns tuning. Fortunately we need take the discussion on tuning no further in view of the widespread use of electronic tuning aids, which enable tuners to continue to tune pipes which they can no longer hear.
The tonal quality of organs is frequently and sometimes hotly debated, and it must surely be the case that some of the issues involve genuine differences in the hearing abilities of some of those who participate in the discussions.
Another reason is that many of the participants in the discussions are probably blithely unaware of the importance that the state of their hearing plays in the positions they adopt, and only a minority will have visited an audiologist. However one or two examples do exist where one can legitimately enquire as to whether failing hearing played a role.
Interestingly, the organ in Manchester's Bridgewater Hall (see above) which has been heavily censured by a number of players and experts is also by Marcussen.

If the answer to either is in the affirmative, it begs the additional question of whether the individuals involved are actually aware of the state of their hearing. There are many implications of this unfortunate dichotomy relating to two of our principal senses. Until society stands its current values relating to defective hearing on its head, we will not be able to emerge from the miasma of uncertainty outlined in this article. Hearing loss in seniors is related to cognitive decline but can be reduced with hearing aids.
One study had volunteers with hearing loss undergo cognitive testing over the course of six years. We know that hearing loss in seniors can speed up cognitive decline, but new research suggests that hearing aids can help maintain cognition or slow down cognitive decline.
Between the two groups there were no cognitive differences, meaning that the use of hearing aids could maintain cognitive function just as well as not having hearing loss. The study not only reaffirms that hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline, but offers a solution: wearing hearing aids can effectively help to maintain cognition. A previous study by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found that hearing loss is linked with higher rates of dementia. The research team used data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging, which tracked thousands of men and women for decades.
By the end of the study 58 participants developed dementia, and the researchers concluded that hearing loss at the beginning of the study was a strong predictor of future dementia. Aside from hearing loss being closely linked to cognitive decline, other research has revealed that adults with hearing loss are also at a higher risk for depression. The American Academy of Audiology conducted a survey among seniors with untreated hearing loss to determine the consequences of untreated hearing loss. Although hearing loss cannot be reversed, hearing aids can be an easy alternative to improving and maintaining hearing.
Hearing aids can provide many benefits; unfortunately, not everyone has access to them, either due to cost or insurance complications. Family and friends should encourage seniors to get hearing aids when possible as they can help greatly improve their overall lives.
Presbycusis – gradual hearing loss in the elderly – is one of the most common chronic health problems we face, but what might surprise some people is that it is associated with a higher risk of death. Learning and communicating in American Sign Language (ASL) guarantees the reduction of such feelings and frustrations -ALSO NO MEDICINES AND NO HIGH EXPENSES on hearing aids! On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional. Hearing Views discusses important issues that impact both audiology professionals and the people with hearing loss that they serve.
Age-acquired hearing loss is a natural decline in hearing ability that affects 80% of those over the age of 70.
In recent years, several high-profile studies have drawn a link between the acceleration of dementia and untreated hearing loss. The cochlea of the human inner ear contains thousands of tiny hair cell receptors (cilia) that are vital in transforming the mechanical energy of sound waves into electrical impulses. The body is unable to re-grow or indeed regenerate replacement hair cells, so the resultant loss is permanent.  For most presbyacusis losses deterioration occurs very slowly over a number of years, usually affecting both ears to a similar degree. Hearing loss is typically compartmentalized into an audiometric classification ranging from mild to profound.  The level of intervention depends on the extent of this evaluation and whether difficulties may be remediated by medical intervention or through use of external amplification, such as hearing aids. While these complaints may seem small in a singular contex,t the collective strain of trying to manage and organize these sounds on a daily basis can pose both physical and mental challenges.
As previously touched upon, the use of hearing aids to address deficits at specified frequencies can be an effective management strategy, but one that, sadly, is not always employed. The study underscores two central aspects linking hearing loss and dementia: cognitive overload and social isolation. It is essential for those who show symptoms of hearing loss or who are concerned about changes in their hearing level that a full diagnostic test be performed.  The hearing test is designed to evaluate the type and degree of one’s hearing level against a normative value and determine the most effective intervention program.
Melanie Lewis, RHAD, PCGE is an audiologist and Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser in the UK who worked for many years at H.S Audiological Centres before moving to head the Hearing Direct audiology department in 2012. ARHL (also known as presbycusis) is a gradual and progressive hearing loss that affects most individuals as they age. ARHL typically begins with high frequency hearing loss (degeneration of the hair cells lining the bottom of the Cochlea) and later affects the lower frequencies (apex of the Cochlea) as well. Although precise causes for this pattern require more research, the bottom line is that women with ARHL have more problems with low-pitched vowel sounds (o, a, ah, i, e), and men have more problems with high-pitched consonant sounds (d, t, sh, s, f, th). Hearing loss is often caused by normal aging or exposure to damaging sounds, but underlying medical conditions can also be a factor.
Someone with age-related hearing loss relies more on assistance from friends and family, is less likely to participate in group activities, and goes to the doctor less frequently than they should. It makes sense that someone who can’t hear well has difficulties communicating in many environments like social activities and family gatherings.
It is a place where you can connect with MED-EL and learn all about hearing and hearing implants. Over time hearing loss can occur in seniors due to years of loud noises or even changes to the ears themselves. Researchers found that those with hearing loss had 30 to 40 percent more cognitive decline than individuals with normal hearing. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, where researchers compared cognitive decline in seniors who used hearing aids with those who did not.
The researchers did note that untreated hearing loss was associated with significant cognitive decline.

The researchers suggest that a common pathology may link the two conditions, and hearing loss can promote social isolation, which is another risk factor for hearing loss.
The researchers focused on 639 individuals with hearing loss and had their cognitive abilities tested.
It was found that volunteers with any hearing loss had a higher risk of developing dementia than the volunteers with healthy hearing. Lin concluded, “A lot of people ignore hearing loss because it’s such a slow and insidious process as we age. The study found that compared to those without hearing loss, those with the condition had an 11 percent increased risk of developing depression.
Chuan-Ming Li said, “We found a significant association between hearing impairment and moderate to severe depression. Hearing loss and depression were closely related in those aged 18 to 69, and in women more than men.
Furthermore, seniors may not wish to get them for fear they will look “old” or because they believe they are just fine without them. You wouldn’t think that treating another condition could contribute to hearing loss, but it can.
No statement herein is to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, preventative, or cure for any disease, disorder or abnormal physical state.
Topics range from education and advocacy to industry, technology and the client-professional relationship, and more.
In this article we hope to offer some elucidation regarding the impact of presbyacusis (age-related hearing loss) and also underscore why it is increasingly being linked to cognitive disorders such as dementia. These electrical impulses are responsible for relaying information to the brain via the auditory nerve and ultimately ensure that sound information is transformed into a lexicon we can understand.
To date there is no known cure for age-related hearing loss, but there is significant progress in the effective management of the condition. It is believed that the resources one expends in trying to follow a conversation may overwhelm or overload the brain; factor this strain in with (often self-imposed) social isolation and the risk is magnified. The proliferation of digital hearing systems ensures that amplification can be targeted to the specific end user’s requirements, addressing specific frequency deficits while trying to restore comfortable and natural sound reproduction.
Paradoxically, several research studies indicate that while men develop high frequency hearing loss with age, women tend to have more problems discerning lower frequencies (250-1000Hz), possibly due to biologic factors such as hormones, or cardiovascular disease events (CVD) such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Since the softer high-pitched consonant sounds carry the meaning of speech, those (especially men) with pronounced high-frequency hearing loss often have problems understanding what is being said, especially in an environment with background noise. Untreated hearing loss leads to serious negative lifestyle changes, which often effect family, friends, and others.
To enhance your browsing experience, please upgrade to a more current browser such as Firefox, Safari or update to Internet Explorer 9. Surprisingly, they’re often the last person to recognize how hearing loss is affecting them and their loved ones. Scientists are studying whether getting a hearing aid or hearing implant can delay or prevent dementia.
This can make them feel removed from friends and family and can be the first step towards social isolation and, many times, towards depression. Association between hearing impairment and lower levels of physical activity in older adults.
Much research has come out to support the evidence that hearing loss can speed up cognitive decline. The risk increased twofold, threefold and fivefold for those with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss. Hearing status was self reported and participants over the age of 70 answered a questionnaire designed to reveal depression.
Previous research has pointed to over-the-counter medications as a possible cause for hearing loss and the latest study confirms these findings. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Foods and Drugs Administration or Health Canada.
As we grow older the number and quality of these hair cells diminish and certain frequency regions, initially of the higher speech range, begin to degrade.
According to the Administration on Aging, the aging ‘baby boom’ generation will produce a dramatic increase in the population through 2030. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 36 million Americans have impaired hearing, including 17% of our adult population.
ARHL has a serious impact on the elderly because it diminishes their ability to communicate and reduces their functional independence. While low-frequency hearing loss is related to CVD events in both genders, women tend to show this relationship more than men on audiograms. The researchers suggest that, on average, seniors with hearing loss experience cognitive decline 3.2 years sooner than those with healthy hearing. Basically, the more hearing loss the volunteer experienced, the higher their risk was for developing dementia or another memory-declining condition. As a young person in their teens, he or she will usually have been able to hear frequencies up to 16 kHz or beyond with no difficulty. The population over 65 is expected to double between 2008 and 2030 to a projected 72.1 million. Approximately one third of Americans between 65 and 74 and nearly half of those over 75 have hearing and communication problems.

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