For advertising information call 859.368.0778 or email email@example.com | May 2016 “What’s That You Said?” By Dr. Tom Miller, Staff Writer Regardless of whether it is limited to missing certain sounds or is so serious someone fails to hear distinguishable sounds, age-related hearing loss is a concern for many. About one-third of all Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 years have hearing-related problems (National Institute on Aging 2016). About half the people age 85 years and older have hearing loss. During early-onset age-related hearing loss, a person may simply misunderstand words. Someone with this condition is often able to hear sounds but is unable to make out all the words. Have you ever been in a noisy restaurant or at a noisy party where there is talking, laughter and music in the background, but you could not understand a conversation you were having? Do family members tell you the TV is too loud or that you seem to be speaking louder or expect others to speak louder? These are some indicators that age-related hearing loss needs to be assessed and treated. Hearing loss can affect your life in several ways. You may miss out on important information from friends and family, and at your doctor’s office, you may miss health and wellness information. Hearing loss does not have to interfere with your quality of life. Begin by revealing your symptoms to your family physician. A referring physician recognizes a licensed audiologist who possesses certification in clinical competence (CCC-A) is the professional who can best assess and treat age-related hearing disorders. The audiologist is also trained to evaluate related disorders, including balance and vestibular disorders and & 9 Age-related hearing loss doesn’t have to mar enjoyment of life tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. The audiologist can provide the appropriate treatment for individuals with hearing disorders. Audiology professionals provide services in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and extended-care facilities, rehabilitation centers, private practice, home health agencies, public and private schools, college and university speech-language-hearing clinics and government facilities, including VA medical centers. Audiologists work closely with physicians and speechlanguage pathologists through an interdisciplinary team approach to provide comprehensive evaluation and treatment services for age-related hearing disorders. Hearing loss can vary from person to person, so a professional assessment to accurately identify the special needs of a person with hearing impairment can lead to the best treatment options. Age-related hearing loss cannot be reversed because it is caused by the degeneration of sensory cells, which occurs with the aging process. However, it can be treated effectively through the use of hearing aids and other forms of communication technology. Sources and Resources National Institute on Aging (2016). Health & Aging: Hearing Loss. Available at: www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/ hearing-loss About the Author Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.