Presbycusis: Everything You Need to Know About Age-Related Hearing Loss

by | 04/20/2023 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

While aging is inevitable for all of us, there are ways to prevent and manage the symptoms of presbycusis

Presbycusis simply means the loss of hearing over time due to age.

It’s a common condition, affecting around one in three people in the US between the ages of 65 and 75, and nearly half of adults over 75. You might not notice the symptoms of presbycusis at first, since they develop gradually. Symptoms most often impact both ears.

While aging is inevitable for all of us, there are ways to prevent and manage the symptoms of presbycusis. If you think you’re experiencing presbycusis, it’s important to see your audiologist right away.

Thousands of patients across the Permian Basin communities trust our audiology team at All About Hearing with their hearing health. We’ll diagnose the cause of your presbycusis symptoms and support you with the right treatments on your journey to better hearing.

What Causes Presbycusis?

Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is most often caused by changes in the inner ear that happen as you age. It’s common for people who experience presbycusis to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss as well.

Prolonged noise exposure over time damages your sensory hair cells that allow you to hear. If your job requires you to be exposed to loud equipment for long periods, you have a higher risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss.

Certain health conditions and genetic predispositions also increase your risk of presbycusis. If you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or a family history of hearing loss, you’re more likely to experience presbycusis.

Lifestyle also plays a role in hearing health—smokers are more likely to develop age-related hearing loss than non-smokers.

What Are the Symptoms of Presbycusis?

The most obvious symptom of presbycusis is not hearing as well as you used to. But you may also notice the following symptoms:

  • Tinnitus in one or both ears
  • Needing to turn up the volume on the TV or radio higher than usual
  • Struggling to hear in loud, crowded places
  • Needing to rely on reading lips to make out what others are saying

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with your audiologist so they can diagnose the root cause.

And look out for other age-related symptoms, like dizziness, vertigo, and issues with balance.

How Is Presbycusis Diagnosed?

A hearing loss diagnosis always begins with a hearing assessment. At All About Hearing, our exams begin with an initial otoscopy. Don’t let this scare you—your audiologist will simply assess the physical health of your ear canal and eardrum.

They’ll make sure built-up ear wax isn’t the cause of your hearing loss and rule out any other illnesses or diseases that could be causing your symptoms.

The next step is an audiology consultation. Your audiologist will play a range of sounds, and you’ll raise your hand when you hear a noise. This allows us to test the range of tones that you’re able to hear.

Schedule an assessment with one with one of our hearing care professionals

At the end of your exam, we’ll discuss your test results, discuss your goals for your hearing, and recommend a treatment plan for your unique case.

Managing and Coping With Presbycusis

Once you’re diagnosed with presbycusis, it’s important to treat it so it doesn’t worsen. Leaving age-related hearing loss untreated can contribute to depression and anxiety.

While presbycusis can’t be reversed or cured, we can treat your symptoms and make them easier to manage with technology like hearing aids.

There are many effective hearing aid options available. At All About Hearing, we’ll review your options with you and help you choose the best hearing aid for your case.

Keep in mind that getting used to hearing aids isn’t always easy. Remember to be patient with yourself as your brain learns to hear again. Here are a few ways to manage the frustration and stress that can come with learning to manage a presbycusis diagnosis:

Let People Know What You’re Going Through

When others are aware that you’re experiencing hearing loss, they can take steps to communicate with you more effectively. Most people will respond with positivity and support.

If you’re upfront about your condition, you’ll eliminate any embarrassment or awkwardness that can come with having to ask someone to repeat themselves.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Need

Chances are you’ll have to ask speakers for clarification from time to time. If you need to ask the speaker to repeat themself, try stating what you think you heard first. Then, ask for clarification.

The more comfortable you are with your age-related hearing loss, the easier it will be for you to ask for what you need.

Join a Support Group

There are plenty of support groups in person and online that offer support and community for people experiencing age-related hearing loss.

Discussing what you’re feeling with others who are experiencing the same thing can have a positive emotional impact and provide a much-needed outlet for any frustration or anger you may be feeling.

How Can You Prevent Presbycusis?

The best way to prevent presbycusis and keep your hearing health in good shape is to protect your ears as much as possible. Don’t wait until you start to notice the signs of presbycusis to start protecting your hearing.

If you regularly attend loud concerts, consider wearing earplugs. If you work in a loud environment, make sure you use ear protection and take breaks when possible.

If you have children, protect their ears from an early age. Make sure the volume of earbuds and headsets is at a safe level and always seek treatment for ear infections right away.

When Should You See Your Audiologist?

Schedule an appointment with your audiologist as soon as you notice symptoms of presbycusis.

With locations on Cuthbert Avenue, All About Hearing has the Midland area’s hearing needs covered. Our trusted audiologists will diagnose the cause of your presbycusis and recommend the best treatment plan for your individual case.

If you’re in the Midland, Texas, area and experiencing signs of age-related hearing loss, schedule a hearing assessment with All About Hearing’s trusted audiologists today.

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Brian Martin

Brian was born in San Angelo, Texas, and moved to Odessa at the age of 5. Brian, at a very early age, had a love of music and sound. At the age of 13 Brian started to play guitar. He graduated from Permian High School and after graduation went on tour playing music and to this day, still plays in the Midland-Odessa area. Brian has been married to his high school sweetheart, Amy, for 25 years and they have one son. His family means the world to him. Over the years Brian has opened up for acts like Jason Aldean, Spencer Davis Group, Denny Laine from Wings, and many other top name groups. As life slowed down the time came for Brian to take his passion for music and sound and apply it to Audiology. Brian loves helping people and his great grandmother’s deafness and his own challenges with hearing loss drove him to become a State Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist. Brian is a member of the International Hearing Society (IHS), and the Texas Hearing Aid Association (THAA). His care for his clients and his knowledge of the industry has lead to many people being helped in their hearing journey.

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