Blue? Hearing Loss & Vocal Strain Could Be the Culprit

Posted in: Hearing News,New Articles,Voice News  |  March 25, 2013 
Blue? Hearing Loss & Vocal Strain Could Be the Culprit

Now that spring has sprung (at least technically), many people are more than ready to leave winter behind. The cold, the snow…maybe some seasonal blues. But for about 15 percent of U.S. seniors, those blues might linger — and for some adults age 65 and up, hearing loss and vocal issues could be part of the cause.

Because hearing and vocal problems can cause seniors anxiety and social discomfort, they can lead to changes in lifestyle. Frustration. Isolation. Confusion keeping up with what loved ones are saying.

And what are the results? Here’s what we know.

  • Almost half of adults 65 and up have some type of hearing loss.
  • About one-third of that group experiences a vocal issue, such as dysphonia, or hoarseness.
  • Approximately 11 percent of seniors showed signs of both hearing and voice concerns, in a study by the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society.
  • In that same study, seniors with both concerns had higher depression scores.

So what’s the link between hearing loss and voice problems? Seniors experiencing hearing loss might speak more loudly to hear themselves or to talk clearly enough for elderly spouses. That’s one way that people can become hoarse, and it can leave them feeling uncomfortable in public.

How can you tell if your loved one is feeling the frustration? Telltale behaviors include:

  • Isolation at social gatherings
  • Turning up the volume on cell phones, TV and radio
  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Exasperation that seems to come out of nowhere

Fortunately, the frustration doesn’t have to last: There are plenty of treatment options for both hearing loss and many vocal problems.

Not sure where to turn? We’re here to listen when you need advice…and hopefully we’ll see you soon to help.

From our own Dr. Robert Pincus:

“A recent study from Johns Hopkins reported that hearing-impaired adults between the ages of 75 and 84 were more likely to experience cognitive and memory problems than those in the same age range with normal hearing.  Also, if you have a significant hearing loss, it is difficult to control the loudness of your voice which may lead to vocal strain as well as social isolation.”