(Presbyacusis; Age-Related Hearing Loss; Presbyacusia)
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- Gradual degeneration of the eardrum or delicate structures within the inner ear (hair cells) due to age
- Changes in the hearing nerve pathways in the ear leading to the brain
- Repeated exposure to loud sounds, music, or equipment which can damage the fragile hair cells within the inner ear involved in hearing
- Hereditary or genetic influences
- Noticeable loss of hearing of higher-pitched sounds, such as female voices, telephone ringing, or bird calls
- Sounds appear less clear and sharp
- Difficulty understanding conversations, particularly in noisy places or while speaking on the telephone
- Ringing in one or both ears, a condition called tinnitus
- Background sounds appear overly loud or bothersome
- Ear fullness with or without dizziness
- Rinne test—involves a vibrating tuning fork placed on the bone behind your ear to test for hearing loss
- Weber test—a tuning fork is placed on the forehead to determine one-sided hearing loss
- Audiometry —wearing headphones and listening for different tones, which vary in pitch and loudness
Hearing Aids and Assistive Listening Devices
- Avoid repeated exposure to loud noises and sounds of any type, including those at work, home, and during recreation.
- When working with loud machinery or in loud environments, wear protective ear plugs or ear muffs.
American Academy of Audiology http://www.audiology.org
American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery http://www.entnet.org
Hearing Loss Association of America http://www.hearingloss.org
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders http://www.nidcd.nih.gov
Canadian Hearing Society http://www.chs.ca
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.csohns.com
Gates GA, Mills JH. Presbycusis. Lancet . 2005;366:1111-1120.
Hearing loss and deafness. Merck Manual of Medical Information . 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/91/2012 -