(Age-Related Hearing Loss)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Presbycusis is gradual slow loss of hearing that is happens as we age.
The inner ear senses vibration created by sound. Hair cells in this area changes the vibration into electric signals. These signals move through nerves to the brain so that you can hear. Over time this system can get worn down. The normal aging process can cause:
Other factors that can cause damage over time include:
Presbycusis is more common in:
Other factors that may raise your chance of presbycusis are:
Hearing loss happens slowly over time in both ears. Common symptoms include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical past. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will check your inner ear with a lighted tool. Some basic tests will help to check your hearing.
Other tests may include:
Hearing loss can't be reversed. The goal of treatment is to decrease impact of hearing loss on quality of life. Other steps may help to slow further hearing loss. Options include:
Steps that may improve your ability to hear include:
Hearing Aids and Assistive Listening Devices
Talk with a specialist to see if a hearing aid is right for you. An audiologist will then be able to do tests to find the best type of hearing aid for you. You may need to replace hearing aids with other models if your hearing loss gets worse.
There are also devices that can make voices over the phone more loud and clear.
A hearing aid may not be helpful for severe hearing loss. Some with this type of hearing loss may benefit from a cochlear implant. It may improve the way sound reaches the brain. It can provide partial hearing to the profoundly deaf.
To help reduce your chance of presbycusis:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
American Tinnitus Association
Canadian Hearing Society
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology
Age-related hearing loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/age-related-hearing-loss. Updated June 29, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2017.
Age-related hearing loss. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 22, 2017.
Gates GA, Mills JH. Presbycusis. Lancet. 2005;366(9491):1111-1120.
Huang Q, Tang J. Age-related hearing loss or presbycusis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Aug;267(8):1179-91
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 4/23/2018
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