Changes in the structures of the external ear, which consists of the pinna and ear canal, affect the ability of an individual to hear. As an individual ages, the pinna becomes elongated, thicker, wider and harder. As this happens, the ear also begins to change its relationship with the cerumen, as it becomes thicker in texture and tends to build up. As this happens, it prevents the vibrations of sound from passing from the external ear into the inner year where sound is processed. Furthermore, changes in the inner ear have been directly associated with an individual’s ability to hear in old age. These changes are a direct result of the amount of fat and cholesterol found in an individual’s diet, damages caused by excessive noise, presence of atherosclerosis and genetic predisposition. Furthermore, as an individual ages, the small blood vessels that work with the cochlea and produce endolymph are reduced. This reduction of the rate by which endolymph is produced greatly reduces the ability of vibrations to pass through the cochlea, thus reducing the ability of an individual to hear sound. Essentially, hearing loss happens as the brain receives fewer impulses from the cochlea.
A Answers (2)
Sharine Forbes, Gerontology, answered
David Vernick, Otolaryngology, answeredPresbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is the leading cause of hearing impairment. Over time, some hair cells in the inner ear grow old and die, and they are not replaced.The signals coding their specific tones do not get relayed to the brain. As the number of lost hair cells increases, the response to specific sounds weakens and we lose hearing. The first hair cells to deteriorate are usually those that receive high-frequency sounds.
Everyone eventually gets presbycusis to some degree, although for many people its impact is relatively minor. It can mean that you have trouble hearing conversations in loud settings, for example. However, in more severe cases, it can be difficult even to hear conversations in quiet places, and you might need hearing aids.