Are you increasing the volume on the TV or asking others to speak up? You're not alone, especially if you're over age 50.

"Age-related hearing loss is called 'presbycusis.'"

The older you get, the more wear and tear you have on your ears says Dr. Gayla Poling.

"That's when we start noticing age-related hearing loss."

Dr. Poling says the majority of hearing loss is preventable. Hunters, for instance, are at risk of hearing loss.

"If you can wear hearing protection, especially designed hearing protection typically for hunting, where you can reduce the loud noise exposure but still hear the environment around you, that can really prevent long-term damage."

Dr. Poling says a hearing test can help evaluate whether you've experienced hearing loss.

"We're looking at the threshold that which you can hear sounds the softest, and you're usually pressing a button or raising your hands or somehow responding to when you hear those sounds. And we're evaluating the entire auditory system in that process - not just with the earphones, but we do some other tests to evaluate your middle ear and the inner ear, as well."

So before you have to turn up the sound, consider turning it down. For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Ian Roth.

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March 16, 2019