Health A-Z


Clinical Definition

Presbycusis is the gradual, bilateral sensorineural hearing loss associated with aging. Manifestation may include the inability to discriminate sounds. Several factors may contribute over a lifetime to age-related hearing loss including toxins, infections, diabetes, exposure to loud noises, and genetics. Prebycusis can vary in severity and range from mild to complete deafness.

In Our Own Words

Presbycusis is age-related hearing loss, and it becomes extremely common as we get to our 70s and 80s. The condition usually occurs in both ears and is gradual. It can result in only mild hearing loss or more profound loss. Often an individual becomes unable to hear certain pitches or tell the difference between sounds, which can interfere with daily life. Hearing aids can reduce this impact.

Presbycusis develops with age due to changes to the cells and structures in the inner ear that sense sounds and send signals to the brain. Exposure to loud noises, past ear infections, toxins, smoking, and other insults over many years can contribute to presbycusis in adults.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Sounds appear less clear, especially consonants
  • Inability to hear high-pitched sounds
  • Difficulty understanding conversations, especially in a noisy room
  • Ringing in the ears
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