Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) is the gradual loss of
hearing in both of the ears. This is a common problem which
is associated to aging. 1 in 3 adults over age 65 has hearing
loss. Because of the gradual change in hearing, some people
are not aware of the change at first.
Most of the times, this condition affects the ability to hear
high-pitched noises such as a phone ringing or beeping of a
microwave. The ability to hear low-pitched noises is usually
What causes presbycusis?
There can be many causes for presbycusis. It most often occurs because
of changes in the following locations:
Within the inner ear (most common)
Within the middle ear
With the nerve pathways to the brain
Other things that affect presbycusis:
Damage of hair cells (sensory receptors in the inner ear)
Various health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes
Side effects of some medications, such as aspirin and certain antibiotics
How is presbycusis diagnosed?
Your doctor will use an otoscope, which is a lighted scope, to
check in the outer ear canal and to look at the ear drum.
The doctor will look for rupture to the ear drum, blockage of
the ear canal from foreign objects or impacted ear wax,
inflammation or infection.
You can be referred to a hearing specialist, audiologist, to
have an audiogram. An audiogram is an ear related test in
which sounds are played through headphones, to one ear at a
You are asked to react if you are able to hear each sound. If a
person can't hear certain tones this suggests there has been
some degree of hearing loss.
What are the symptoms of
The most common symptoms of presbycusis are listed below:
Speech of different sounds mumbled or slurred
High-pitched sounds, like "s" or "th" are hard to distinguish
Conversations are very difficult to understand, specifically
when there is background noise
Men's voices seems easier to hear than women's voices
Some of the sounds seem overly loud and annoy