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Age-related hearing loss

  • Alternative Names

    Hearing loss - age related; Presbycusis


    The loss of hearing occurs slowly over time. It is most difficult to hear high-frequency sounds, such as someone talking. As hearing gets worse, it may become difficult to hear sounds at lower pitches.

    Symptoms include:

    • Certain sounds seem overly loud
    • Difficulty hearing things in noisy areas
    • High-pitched sounds such as "s" or "th" are hard to distinguish from one another
    • Men's voices are easier to hear than womens.
    • Other people's voices sound mumbled or slurred
    • Ringing in the ears

    The symptoms of presbycusis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Talk to you health care provider if you have any of these symptoms.

    Signs and tests

    A complete physical exam is performed to rule out medical conditions that can cause hearing loss. The health care provider will use an instrument called an otoscope to look in your ears. Sometimes, wax can block the ear canals and cause hearing loss.

    You may be sent to an ear, nose, and throat doctor and a hearing specialist (audiologist). Hearing tests can help determine the extent of hearing loss.