Our hearing changes as we age. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop age-related hearing loss. But there are ways that you can look after your ears and hearing as you get older.
Listen to your hearing
“As we get older, our risk of hearing loss grows with us,” says Farah Kiani, one of our senior audiologists. “It’s estimated that 40 percent of those above the age of 50 have some degree of hearing loss. For women going through the menopause, the drop in oestrogen can trigger additional issues such as tinnitus. Other ear issues such as ear infections do become less common as we get older though.”
Farah also recommends paying closer attention to your own hearing and being aware of the early signs of hearing loss. “Whilst it won’t protect your ears, the more keenly aware you are of the quality of your hearing health, the sooner you’ll notice if you are losing your hearing,” Farah says.
A quick and easy way to get a general idea of how well you can hear is to take our online hearing test. It’s free, you can take it from the comfort of your own home and you’ll get your results straight away.
Turn it down
Exposure to loud noises is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. You can’t change the past, but you can still minimise your risk of further damage in the future. The 60/60 rule is easy to remember if you regularly listen to music on headphones: listen at 60% of your device’s maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
You should also wear hearing protection in noisy environments. A good rule of thumb, according to the RNID, is that if you have to shout to be heard by someone who is 2 m (6 feet) away, the noise levels could be high enough to damage your hearing.
Is it wax?
“Although some people may be worried that their hearing loss is more serious, it could be as simple as having a quick and painless procedure to remove the wax, performed by a professional,” says world-leading hearing loss psychologist Dr Dalia Tsimpida, from the University of Liverpool. “Never attempt at-home removal though. Using items such as a cotton swab to clean your ears can cause the wax to become compact and push up against your eardrum, which could cause internal damage.”
Dr Dalia Tsimpida is a Chartered Psychologist and multi-awarded Hearing Research Scientist. She is currently a lecturer in Public Health at the University of Liverpool.
As we get older, changes to the glands inside of our ears means that ear wax can become drier. This increases the risk of ear wax build-up.
Embrace your hearing
Hearing loss is one of the top three most stigmatising aspects of ageing, behind frailty and forgetfulness, according to a 2022 survey by Hidden Hearing and YouGov. Treating your hearing loss early can have a positive impact on your health, relationships and well-being. The same survey found that people with hearing aids are six times more likely to be happier than those with an unaided hearing loss.
Book a hearing test
When you come to see us for your free hearing test, which takes about an hour, we’ll carry out a few different tests to find out how well you can hear in various situations. Make sure to bring a family member or loved one with you. This way we can find out how well you can hear a familiar voice. We also have speech-in-noise tests to find out how well you cope with background noise. And we’ll also use the latest video otoscope technology for a thorough, physical examination of your ears.You can find out more about exactly what happens at a hearing test by following the link, or you can book your free hearing test online today.