Q2. Why has my hearing gone worse as I have got older?

A2. Many aspects of our bodies begin to fail as we get older. Things don’t work as well and unfortunately, hearing is one of them.

Age-related hearing loss or ‘presbycusis’ is a very common form of hearing loss which affects most people by the time they reach old age. People with presbycusis find that they cannot hear high pitched sounds although low tone sounds are fine.

If you suffer from this form of hearing loss then you will find that you can hear men’s voices but struggle to hear women’s and children’s. The reason for this is that the male voice is lower in tone and easier to hear. Women and children have high pitched voices which are harder to hear.

The reason for your hearing loss is a decline in the number of hair cells within the cochlea which help to transmit sound waves to your brain. These hair cells detect sounds as they travel through the ear and as they move in response to these they convert these sounds into electrical signals. These signals are sent via your auditory nerve to your brain.

There are different types of hair cells within the cochlea which can detect differing sounds.

Hereditary is also a factor: if any of your family lost their hearing at a certain age then you are likely to do the same.

If you find that you are struggling to follow a conversation, have turned the television or radio up or ask people to repeat themselves then these are all signs of presbycusis. This is a permanent type of hearing loss.

This is discussed in greater detail in our causes of hearing loss section.

FAQS Index : A guide to Hearing Loss

FAQs Intro

  1. What causes deafness?
  2. Why has my hearing gone worse as I have got older?
  3. Is there more than one type of hearing loss?
  4. Why does my child get lots of ear infections?
  5. What is ‘glue ear?’
  1. Can listening to an MP3 player affect your hearing?
  2. I need a hearing test, what can I expect?
  3. What is a cochlear implant?
  4. What type of hearing aid will suit me?
  5. Will deafness ever be cured?

Hearing Loss

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