Hearing

Age-related hearing loss: why it matters

  • Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss (source).
  • Nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing (source).
  • Age-related hearing loss is gradual and may go unnoticed (source).
  • Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them (source).
  • Age-related hearing loss is reported to be a source of loneliness, isolation, and decline in social activities, as well as communication disorders and dissatisfaction with family life (source).

Hearing accessibility in OLLI classrooms

With hearing loss so common, we strive to make our classrooms accessible. All of our instructors are asked to use microphones (all rooms are have installed microphones), and we encourage students to let the instructors know if their speaking style presents difficulties. In addition, most of our classrooms have assistive listening options:

  • Room 102A/B and 206: hearing loop system that transmits directly to hearing aids with a t-coil; headset assistive listening devices also available on request.
  • Room 205, 207, 230: individual hearing loops available on request.
  • Room 120: speakers use a microphone.

Resources

Fact sheet and hearing questionnaire

Age-Related Hearing Loss fact sheet from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
This questionnaire from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Hearing Disorders can help determine whether further hearing tests are needed.

If you have questions about your hearing, please consult your doctor.

Research overviews

Impact of Hearing Loss on the Quality of Life of Elderly Adults
Untreated Hearing Loss in Adults—A Growing National Epidemic
Impact of Hearing Loss on Communication Partners

Hearing loops and t-coils

Hearing loop systems transmit sound directly from a microphone into the telecoil (t-coil) in a hearing aid, bridging the distance between speaker and listener. They are increasingly common in lecture halls and other public spaces. Click here to view a video from the Hearing Loss Association of America that provides an overview.

Telecoils (t-coils) are built into most hearing aids currently on the market. If you consult with an audiologist, be sure to ask about t-coils. Read more about hearing loops and t-coils from the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Personal sound amplifiers

Personal sound amplifiers are not a substitute for hearing aids, but they can be useful in settings like a noisy restaurant. In classrooms or lecture halls, other assistive listening devices are usually more helpful.