Hearing Loss Is Common Among Older Adults

According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication disorders, “Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.” The proportion of adults age 70 years and older with hearing loss who have ever used hearing aids is increasing.

For more information about hearing loss as we age, read more from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and the National Institute on Aging.

Hearing loss can be misdiagnosed as dementia, and hearing loss can cause the degree of dementia to be overestimated.  Some cognitive tests depend on being able to hear and understand spoken language, and there are some similarities between the characteristics of hearing loss and dementia, such as problems understanding, social isolation, and depression.  See…

Untreated hearing loss can affect your relationships with family with family, friends and others, or engage in social or group activities, live independently, feel self-confident, hear the doorbell or phone ring, and play games or sports. In effect, not treating your hearing loss can contribute to loneliness and isolation, as shown in the studies below.

Hearing loss can be harmful, but it’s also very treatable. Start with a visit to your primary care doctor or audiologist, and don’t be afraid to be honest about how, when, and and where you’re struggling to hear.