Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis)

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What is age-related hearing loss?

Age-related hearing loss (or presbycusis) is a form of hearing loss that occurs gradually during the aging process. Usually, this type of hearing loss affects both ears. Depending on certain factors, age-related hearing loss can start in a person's thirties or forties and usually increases gradually over time.

It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.

Help someone with hearing loss

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Book a FREE* hearing check for age-related hearing loss

Book a FREE* hearing check to find out if you have presbycusis. We can explain your condition and suggest treatment options.
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What causes age-related hearing loss?

The main cause of age-related hearing loss is aging. Most commonly, it arises due to changes in the inner ear as you grow older. The factors that can have an influence on age-related hearing loss are the following:

  • Genes
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Side effects of certain drugs and medications
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Repeated exposure to loud noises

Causes of hearing loss

Did you know?

While men are more likely to develop a hearing loss in higher frequencies, women often have hearing loss in lower frequencies.

The frequency of your hearing loss refers to whether you are having trouble hearing high-pitched or low-pitched sounds.

High-frequency hearing loss

Low-frequency hearing loss

6 common signs and symptoms of age-related hearing loss

The signs and symptoms of age-related hearing loss can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include the following:

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1. You have difficulty following group conversations (especially when background noise is present)
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2. You have trouble understanding speech communicated over loudspeakers in public places - such as in an airport or at work
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3. Loud noises are more irritating than they used to be
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4. Sounds seem unclear or people sound like they are mumbling
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5. Low-pitched voices seem easier to hear than high-pitched voices.
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6. You hear ringing or buzzing sounds in your ears (called tinnitus)
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How is age-related hearing loss treated?

The best treatment option for someone with age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) will depend on the person's overall health, age and the severity of the hearing loss.

The most common treatment for age-related hearing loss is hearing aids, but the treatment may also include using assistive aids and / or learning lip reading techniques.

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How can you protect your hearing as you age?

Since age-related hearing loss is irreversible, prevention is important. Below are some of the most effective ways to prevent it:

  • Avoid (or reduce exposure to) excessively loud noises
  • Avoid smoking
  • Seek treatment for hearing health conditions (such as ear infections)
  • Wear ear protection in loud environments (ear plugs, earmuffs)

Hearing loss and dementia

FAQ about age-related hearing loss

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Maddison Franse - Audiologist and Medical and Clinical Projects Specialist

BSc, MClinAud, MAudA(CCP)

What drew Maddison to the hearing care industry was the potential to help others connect with those around them, enriching their quality of life. Over her career at Audika she has gained experience in adult rehabilitation, paediatric testing and tinnitus management, and been involved the training and development of graduate and student audiologists. Excited to share her passion for hearing health and excellent clinical care she moved into the role of Medical & Clinical Projects Specialist.

Maddison's current role allows her to raise hearing health awareness amongst other health professionals and support Audika’s clinical network in providing the best possible service and care to their clients.