Hearing Loss: Types, Causes, and Impairment in Older Adults

Senior man with a hearing aid

Hearing loss is an impairment that can significantly change a person’s enjoyment and satisfaction in life. It makes day-to-day conversations with family and friends difficult, along with other important activities such as hearing alarms, reacting to warnings and understanding a doctor’s instructions.

In some cases, it can also lead to feelings of isolation and depression. This is because people who can’t hear well often feel frustrated or embarrassed about not being able to catch what was said. Moreover, they are also seen as confused or unresponsive because of their hearing impairment.

While hearing loss is a common problem caused by various factors such as noise, disease, and genes, this is commonly caused by aging. A report shows that one in three adults between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and almost half of those older than 75 struggle with hearing.


What are the Types of Hearing Loss?

Regardless of your age, it helps to remember that there are various manifestations of hearing loss. Here are some of the most common types:

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SSHL)

Also called sudden deafness, this refers to an unexplained and rapid loss of hearing over a few days. It frequently affects only one ear and can happen all at once or gradually throughout the period.

If you or someone you know experiences sudden hearing loss, you should see a doctor immediately as this indicates a problem with the inner ear’s sensory organs.


This is a common problem affecting around 15 to 20 percent of people. It is usually described as ringing in the ears that comes and goes; however, in some cases, people hear other sounds like clicks, hisses, or buzzing.

More importantly, tinnitus isn’t a condition itself. It is usually a symptom of an underlying condition, such as hearing loss in older adults, ear damage, or a disorder in the circulatory system.

Age-Related Hearing Loss

Otherwise referred to as presbycusis, this type of hearing loss usually happens in both ears and gradually emerges as a person ages. As it is caused by the degeneration of sensory cells, it is a progressive condition and only gets worse over time.

A person may be more susceptible to presbycusis due to genetic factors. Moreover, people with this condition may not notice the loss of hearing as it occurs in both ears and happens gradually.


What are the Causes of Hearing Loss?

The loss of hearing can be brought about by a wide variety of factors, such as the following:

  • Loud noise (e.g. noise from equipment such as lawnmowers, loud music)
  • Earwax or fluid buildup
  • Eardrum injury
  • Chronic disease (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke)
  • Heredity
  • Aging


Can Age-Related Hearing Loss be Reversed?

As it is due to the degeneration of your sensory cells due to age, this type of hearing impairment cannot be reversed. However, there are treatments you can get to still be able to perform your daily tasks without a problem and improve your quality of life.

Your doctor or specialist will guide you through a hearing test and may advise you to use hearing aids. These assistive devices run on batteries and make sounds louder for you. Moreover, there are alerting devices and cochlear implants for people with severe hearing impairment as well.



Regardless of the cause, hearing problems can only get worse and further deteriorate your quality of life if left untreated. That said, if you are experiencing any loss of hearing, you should see your doctor or visit a hearing clinic as soon as possible. They will be able to walk you through the appropriate treatment, medication, and assistive devices for your case.

If you’re looking for a hearing aid clinic in Langley, why not visit us? At Fraser Valley Beltone, we’re committed to bringing our patients hearing so natural that listening becomes a pleasure again. Get in touch with us today and get free hearing tests to get started!




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