Help for those with age-related hearing loss

May 18, 2023 

Dr. Abigail Stutz, audiologist, and Barb Ratermann, audiology clerical assistant.
Age-related hearing loss (also called presbycusis) is hearing loss that occurs gradually for many people as they grow older, one of the most common conditions affecting aging adults. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) ages 18 and over report some trouble hearing, and about 1 in 3 people in the U.S. between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss. Nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.
With May being Better Speech and Hearing Month, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese is sharing information about this common condition in older adults. “While some people think hearing loss is just a nuisance, hearing is important for safety and socialization,” said Abigail Stutz, AuD, St. Joseph’s Hospital’s audiologist. “Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow a doctor's advice, and hear phones, doorbells and smoke or weather alarms. Hearing loss can also make it hard to enjoy talking with family and friends, leading to feelings of isolation,” she said.
For those with hearing loss, St. Joseph’s Hospital offers these tips for you and your family members and friends to make living with hearing loss easier:
  • Share with your friends and family about your hearing loss. Explain which listening situations are hard for you.
  • Ask your friends and family to face you when they are talking so that you can see their expressions and lip movements. This may help you to understand what they’re saying.
  • Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. You may need to ask them to slow down when they speak, or to speak more clearly.
  • Turn off or turn down the volume of background noise, such as the TV, when you’re trying to have a conversation.
  • Be aware of noise around you that can make hearing more difficult. When you go to a restaurant, for example, don't sit near the kitchen or near a band playing music. Ask for seating in a quiet area. Sitting in a booth can help soften or block noise.
If you suspect you may have hearing loss, there are online resources to see if you need a hearing test, such as this interactive quiz from the NIH – You can also speak with your doctor about ordering a hearing test from HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese. St. Joseph’s also offers hearing aid evaluations and fittings. For an appointment or more information, call St. Joseph’s audiology services at 618-526-1421.
Photo caption: Audiology services are available at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese with (left) Dr. Abigail Stutz, audiologist, and Barb Ratermann, audiology clerical assistant.
Help for those with age-related hearing loss