A certain degree of hearing loss, beginning first in the high-pitched range, is nearly universal among the elderly. It is likely that it results from a combination of genetic vulnerability, the effects of diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes, and noise exposure. Nearly everybody develops some degree of age-related hearing loss in their lifetime. This term describes a pattern of sensorineural hearing loss (described above).
Of people age 65 to 75, 1 in 4 people and nearly half of those over age 75 experiences some hearing difficulty. The majority of these people do not complain of deafness; rather, their family members are the first ones to notice. The ability to hear, first, high frequency sounds and then conversational speech is affected. Hearing aids can often help mild to moderate hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss can be severe in nature, making communication nearly impossible. In this case, a cochlear implant may work better than a hearing aid.
Our physicians check for sensorineural hearing loss with a hearing test and physical examination.