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What is presbycusis?
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Presbycusis [prez-bee-KYU-sis] is hearing loss that happens over time, as people age. It is a common problem that occurs with aging. About 30% of adults over age 65 have hearing loss. About 50% of people over age 75 have hearing loss.
Presbycusis usually happens slowly over many years. It often occurs in both ears at the same time. In some cases, people are not aware of the change right away.
What causes presbycusis?
There may be many causes for presbycusis. But it most often happens because of age-related changes in the following areas:
Things that might add to presbycusis include:
Long-term exposure to very loud noise
Loss of hair cells (sensory receptors) in the inner ear, that help you to hear
Family history of hearing loss
Some health problems, such as vascular disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes
Side effects of some medicines, such as aspirin and certain antibiotics
What are the symptoms of presbycusis?
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Other people’s speech sounds mumbled or slurred
Having trouble hearing high-pitched sounds
Having trouble understanding conversations, often when there is background noise
Men's voices are easier to hear than women's
Some sounds seem very loud and annoying
A ringing sound (tinnitus) in one or both ears
Presbycusis symptoms may seem like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Treatment for presbycusis
Your healthcare provider will create a care plan for you based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the disease
How well you handle certain medicines, treatments, or therapies
If your condition is expected to get worse
What you would like to do
Treatment options for presbycusis may include:
Avoiding loud noises and reducing noise exposure
Wearing ear plugs or special fluid-filled ear muffs, to prevent further damage to hearing
Using a hearing aid
Getting a Cochlear implant
Using assistive devices (amplifiers) to make your TV or phone louder
Learning speech reading, to communicate using lip reading and visual cues
Online Medical Reviewer:
Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer:
Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed:
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