Presbycusis (Age-related Hearing Loss)

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Presbycusis (presby = elder, cusis = hearing) or age related hearing loss is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs as people get older.


It involves a progressive sensorineural hearing loss. Presbycusis most often occurs in both ears, affecting them equally.

Everyone who lives long enough will develop some degree of presbycusis, sooner or later. Those who damage their ears from loud noise exposure will develop it sooner. It is estimated that 40-50% of people aged 75 and older have some degree of hearing loss.

Age-related changes are the most common cause of presbycusis.

With presbycusis, a person has difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds such as speech. Inability to participate efficiently in conversations often leads to depression. The process of hearing loss is gradual and often people with presbycusis may not realize that their hearing is diminishing.

The diagnosis of presbycusis involves ruling out other causes of hearing loss. It is done with the help of physical examination with an otoscope to examine the inner ear and medical history.

The treatment depends on the extent of hearing loss determined after a hearing test. Hearing aids, assistive listening devices, speech reading and/or cochlear implants can help people with presbycusis.

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