What are the Symptoms of Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Senior Couple enjoying talking after overcoming age related hearing loss

Presbycusis is the loss of hearing that occurs as we age. Hearing loss is a common disorder associated with aging. About 30-35 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 75 years have a hearing loss. An estimated that 40-50 percent of people 75 and older have a hearing loss.

For most people presbycusis is an insidious disease, it doesn’t happen overnight.  The progression of an age-related hearing loss can extend over a great deal of time, sometimes years.  And it’s because of this that the symptoms of an age-related hearing loss can be easy to miss, at least in the early stages of the disease.

Causes of Age-Related Hearing Loss

There is no known single cause of presbycusis. The following factors may contribute to age-related hearing loss:

  • Genetics (family history of hearing loss)
  • Excessive exposure to noise
  • Smoking
  • Certain medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension and heart disease)
  • Certain medicines (antibiotics, aspirin, chemotherapy drugs)

Symptoms of Age-Related Hearing Loss

The following are the most common symptoms of presbycusis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Speech of others sounds mumbled or slurred
  • High-pitched sounds, such as “s” or “th” are hard to distinguish
  • Conversations are difficult to understand, especially when there is background noise
  • Men’s voices are easier to hear than women’s
  • Some sounds seem overly loud and annoying
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) may occur in one or both ears

Treatment for Age-Related Hearing Loss

Although Presbycusis is not curable, the effects of the disease on patients’ lives can be lessened most noticeably by using hearing aids.  Properly fit hearing aids may contribute significantly to the rehabilitation of a patient with presbycusis.

Source NIH: NIDCD
March 2016

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