Back

Presbycusis

(Presbyacusis; Age-Related Hearing Loss; Presbyacusia)

Definition

Presbycusis is gradual hearing loss in both ears that commonly occurs as people age. This form of gradual hearing loss can be mild, moderate, or severe. Presbycusis that leads to permanent hearing loss may be referred to as nerve deafness.
The Ear
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

There are several causes of presbycusis including:

Risk Factors

Presbycusis is more common in men, and in people over 75 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of presbycusis include:

Symptoms

Presbycusis may cause:
With presbycusis, hearing loss is usually very gradual, affecting both ears equally.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will perform a visual exam of your ear canal and eardrum with a lighted instrument called an otoscope.
Tests may include the following:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Hearing Aids and Assistive Listening Devices

If it is determined that a hearing aid may be useful, the audiologist will conduct several tests to determine the type of hearing aid that will best improve hearing of speech. The extent of benefit varies according to the cause and degree of hearing loss. Sometimes hearing aids will need to be replaced with other models if hearing loss progresses. Some people with presbycusis may benefit from telephone amplifiers that help hear speech on the telephone.

Cochlear Implants

For certain people with very severe hearing loss that is not improved by a simple hearing aid, a cochlear implant device may improve sound generation to the brain. It may provide partial hearing to the profoundly deaf.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of presbycusis, take the following steps:

RESOURCES

American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery http://www.entnet.org

American Tinnitus Association http://www.ata.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Canadian Hearing Society http://www.chs.ca

Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Hearing Society http://www.chs.ca

Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.csohns.com

References

Age-related hearing loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/Pages/Age-Related-Hearing-Loss.aspx. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 25, 2014.

Gates GA, Mills JH. Presbycusis. Lancet. 2005;366:1111-1120.

Hearing impairment in the elderly. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 1, 2014. Accessed September 25, 2014.

Revision Information