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(Age-Related Hearing Loss)
by Alice A. McCarthy, MBA
Presbycusis is gradual hearing loss in both ears that commonly occurs as people age. This form of gradual hearing loss can be mild, moderate, or severe. Presbycusis that leads to permanent hearing loss may be referred to as nerve deafness.
There are several causes of presbycusis including:
Risk Factors TOP
Presbycusis is more common in men, and in people over 75 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of presbycusis include:
Presbycusis may cause:
With presbycusis, hearing loss is usually very gradual, affecting both ears equally.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will perform a visual exam of your ear canal and eardrum with a lighted instrument called an otoscope.
Tests may include the following:
Treatment options include the following:
Stand closer to and face-to-face with people you are speaking to.
Have others speak louder and more clearly.
Try to reduce background noise.
Hearing Aids and Assistive Listening Devices
If it is determined that a hearing aid may be useful, the audiologist will conduct several tests to determine the type of hearing aid that will best improve hearing of speech. The extent of benefit varies according to the cause and degree of hearing loss. Sometimes hearing aids will need to be replaced with other models if hearing loss progresses. Some people with presbycusis may benefit from telephone amplifiers that help hear speech on the telephone.
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 (NIDCD) 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-Lnaguage-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 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
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