Hearing loss is part of the natural aging process. As we age we use more of the brain to listen. The gain of aging is our good word and context knowledge and our experience of conversation, however the loss is slowing attention and working memory.
It should be understood that it is a loss, and no hearing aids will restore our hearing to the pre-damaged state. The brain takes on the processing of information and relies on the sense of hearing for understanding. Our brains are very adaptive and will use other cues and read faces to make sense of conversation. But remember the ear is like a microphone to the brain. There is a point that we are just not getting enough sound stimulation and the brain cannot compensate. When we struggle to hear we get tired and frustrated.
Typically the high frequency sounds are lost in aging, so our consonants are lost and the lower frequency vowel sounds are heard. This can often be expressed as ‘every one mumbles’ or ‘if people would only speak clearly’. Many will have little difficulty in ideal listening situations, but our social world is demanding and noisy and the consequences of hearing loss is increasing social isolation.
Hearing loss can be a silent progression that, will ultimately affect your quality of life and the people closest to you.