Presbycusis is a progressive hearing loss that is attributed to the aging process. It is the most common type of hearing loss in adults, affecting an estimated 1 in 3 people over the age of 65.
What are presbycusis signs and symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of presbycusis can vary from person to person, but they may include:
- Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds, such as the ringing of a telephone or the chirping of a bird
- Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
- Feeling like people are mumbling
- Having to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
- Having difficulty hearing people who are talking from behind or to the side
What are examples of presbycusis?
Some examples of presbycusis include:
- Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve.
- Presbycusis with high-frequency hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is characterized by a loss of hearing in the high-pitched frequencies.
- Presbycusis with low-frequency hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is characterized by a loss of hearing in the low-pitched frequencies.
What happens during presbycusis?
During presbycusis, the hair cells in the inner ear gradually deteriorate. These hair cells are responsible for converting sound waves into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. When the hair cells deteriorate, the brain receives fewer electrical signals, which leads to hearing loss.
What causes presbycusis hearing loss?
The exact cause of presbycusis is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:
- Age: The risk of developing presbycusis increases with age.
- Genetics: Some people are more likely to develop presbycusis than others due to their genes.
- Exposure to noise: Exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear and lead to hearing loss.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and vascular disease, can increase the risk of developing presbycusis.
Is there a cure for presbycusis?
There is no cure for presbycusis, but there are treatments that can help to improve hearing. These treatments include:
- Hearing aids: Hearing aids amplify sound, making it easier for people with hearing loss to hear.
- Cochlear implants: Cochlear implants are electronic devices that can be surgically implanted in the inner ear. They can provide a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf.
- Speech therapy: Speech therapy can help people with hearing loss to develop their speech and language skills.
If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of presbycusis, it is important to see an audiologist. An audiologist can assess your hearing and recommend the best treatment for you.