Presbycusis

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Presbycusis is a type of sensorineural hearing loss which is caused by natural aging. Presbycusis occurs over time, becoming worse as people age and can not be reversed. It is the most common form of hearing loss and the second most common illness among older people, effecting up to 1 in 3 people by the age of 65.

Symptoms[change | change source]

As a form of hearing loss, presbyusis will result in a decreased ability to hear sounds. Since it is a form of hearing loss that occurs over time, many people do not realise that they are affected and continue to believe that their hearing is normal. There are symptoms however that provide clear signs that hearing loss is present.

  • Sounds, and speech becoming unclear
  • Speech becoming harder to understand, especially of children and women
  • Needing to increase volume when using TV, listening to music and the radio
  • Difficulty focusing on sounds when there is a lot of background noise
  • Tinnitus

Communication for people who are experiencing presbycusis usually will become a lot more difficult. Although noises may still sound loud, it is common that with this hearing loss, the sounds will not be clear. This is especially true when hearing high-pitched or high-frequency sounds.

Causes[change | change source]

Unlike other forms of hearing loss such as noise-induced hearing loss it is a normal part of aging. Even though it occurs naturally, there are factors that can make it worse and make it happen earlier in life. Presbycusis is usually a form of sensorineural hearing loss, which means that it is due to problems in the inner ear or the hearing nerve due to loss or damage to the hair cells that line the inner ear. The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are exposure to loud noise for long periods of time as well as some diseases.

Management[change | change source]

Most hearing loss can both be prevented or managed if the proper precautions are taken.

  • Noise-induced hearing loss in particular, coming from exposure to loud sounds can be prevented by using protection as well as avoidance
  • Hearing loss can be managed through the use of hearing aids and is used by many elderly people experiencing presbycusis. Hearing aids are not only able to increase sound levels but also separate an increase relevant sounds, making them very useful in helping with hearing.

Other websites[change | change source]

  • National Hearing Care Find an audiologist in Australia for more information on hearing problems.
  • Bay Audiology Find an audiologist in New Zealand for more information on hearing problems.