Presbycusis is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older. 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. It is 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 exactly 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 PRESBYCUSIS
There is no known single cause of presbycusis. Most commonly, it is caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you grow older. The following factors may contribute to age-related hearing loss:
- Genetics (family history of hearing loss)
- Excessive exposure to noise
- Certain medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension and heart disease)
- Certain medicines (antibiotics, aspirin, chemotherapy drugs)
SYMPTOMS OF PRESBYCUSIS
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, particularly 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 PRESBYCUSIS
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.