Presbycusis: Age-related hearing loss

What is presbycusis?

Also known as Presbycusis, age-related hearing loss is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs as we age. A form of sensorineural hearing loss, age-related hearing loss commonly affects both ears and can make it harder to distinguish higher-pitched sounds, such as children's voices and ringing phones, impacting the way that we communicate and our day-to-day life. The severity of age-related hearing loss does vary from person to person, with some people unaware they are experiencing it due to its gradual nature.

The symptoms of presbycusis

Although it can be hard to recognise that you are experiencing age-related hearing loss because of the gradual impact on your hearing, some of the most common signs and symptoms of age-related hearing loss can include:

  1. Struggling to understand friends, family and co-workers in settings with background noise.
  2. Feeling as though others are mumbling or slurring their words.
  3. Finding it hard to distinguish high-pitched sounds (‘s’ and ‘th’ sounds, for example).
  4. Needing to increase the volume of your television or radio to levels that are uncomfortable for others.
  5. Avoiding some social settings in fear of not being able to understand others.

It is important to note that age-related hearing loss, just like any other form of hearing loss, does affect people differently. You may experience all symptoms mentioned above or just a few.

How is presbycusis diagnosed?

To diagnose presbycusis, your audiologist will examine your ears to rule out any other causes of hearing loss. A full hearing test will also be conducted to identify the extent of your hearing loss.

A woman wearing her earrings next to her hearing aid

Get in touch with Bay Audiology today

If you have any concerns, book an appointment at one of our clinics. Regular hearing checks are an important step in maintaining your overall health and wellness. Our online hearing test is a good place to start on your hearing health.

The causes of presbycusis

Some of the most common causes of age-related hearing loss include:

  1. Changes within the inner and middle ear that occur as we age.
  2. Repeated exposure to loud noises at work or home.
  3. Health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, which can impact blood flow to the ear.
  4. Some inherited conditions.
  5. Adverse reactions to some medications, including antibiotics and chemotherapy.

How to prevent age-related hearing loss?

Although age-related hearing loss does affect a large portion of the older population, there are a few behaviours that can help to lessen the impact of age-related hearing loss over time. These include:

  1. Avoiding repeated exposure to loud noise
  2. Using earplugs or fluid-filled ear muffs to avoid further damage

If you are concerned about your hearing health, book a free hearing check with Bay Audiology to receive a professional assessment of your hearing.

Treatments for age-related hearing loss

If you believe you may be experiencing age-related hearing loss, a diagnostic hearing test at Bay Audiology will allow us to help determine the severity of your condition and what treatments are available for your needs. 

Depending on the severity of age-related hearing loss, the condition can be managed in one of several different ways. These may include: 

  1. Being fitted with a hearing aid.
  2. Learning how to use assistive devices, such as speech to text converters, amplifying devices and hearing loop systems.
  3. Becoming proficient at lip reading and other management techniques.
  4. In extreme cases, being fitted with a cochlear implant.
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