The importance of hearing and speaking as we age

Our ability to hear and speak allow us to communicate with others and are an important part of our emotional and social well-being. Issues with our hearing or speech that prohibit us from communicating can pose significant challenges such as social isolation.

Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in older adults and the most widespread disability. Aging is the number one cause of hearing loss in Canada. Some changes in our ability to hear are part of normal aging and some are not. Hearing loss may affect our social interactions and even place us at risk for other health problems, like dementia or falls.

The good news? Ninety per cent of older adults with hearing loss can improve communication with a properly fitted hearing aid, counselling or environmental changes

For older adults, challenges with speech may be the result of a stroke. ‘Aphasia’ is the term for language difficulties – including trouble speaking, listening and understanding, reading and writing after experiencing a stroke. Fortunately, most people recover language skills, though the rate at which they regain abilities – and whether they make a full recovery – varies depending on the individual.

Read through our speech and hearing resources to learn more.

Get the latest content first. Sign up for free weekly email alerts.
Author Details

DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website

Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use