Identifying age related hearing loss (Presbycusis)

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Written by Amplivox

As people get older, age related hearing loss (or presbycusis) may gradually affect their hearing. Essentially, it's the slow decline of high-pitched hearing in both ears. It’s one of the most common conditions accompanying ageing, affecting about one in three people ages 65–74 and nearly half of those 75 and older.1

Hearing problems are common in older adults and are most commonly the result of the natural ageing process, but other factors such as working environment, past activities, and health issues can also impact a person's hearing as they age. For instance, a person's previous social life can impact their hearing in the future.2

Age related hearing loss usually has an equal affect on both ears but people with presbycusis may not notice they are losing their hearing because it tends to happen gradually over time.


As we get older, our hearing might naturally deteriorate. However, experts believe that various factors, not just ageing, can impact hearing loss. As mentioned, this includes things like genetics, long-term exposure to loud noises, and certain medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Complex changes in the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain can worsen hearing loss, as can abnormalities in the middle ear (however these are less common).

Certain drugs, such as those used for chemotherapy can also be harmful to the sensory cells in your ears, which can also lead to hearing loss.3


Presbycusis tends to occur within the highest frequency sounds first. This results in people having difficulty with certain tones, including: 


Speech Alarms and warnings

Consonants provide clarity of speech. People with age-related hearing loss often struggle to hear and distinguish these kinds of sounds, which can lead to speech sounding unclear, muffled, or distorted.

Technological devices such as oven timers and alerts have high frequency sounds. Those with presbycusis will struggle to hear them.

Difficulty hearing in noisy environments Needing higher volumes
Background noise can make it difficult for people with age-related hearing loss to grasp conversations. This is partly because they have difficulty distinguishing between different sounds. They may need to increase the volume on their TV, radio, or other audio devices to hear better.
Tinnitus Social isolation
Tinnitus is a noise in the ears, like ringing or buzzing, that some older people with hearing loss can experience. Age-related hearing loss doesn't exclusively cause tinnitus, but it can be an associated symptom. People who have difficulty hearing may struggle to participate in social activities. As a result, they can choose to distance themselves from others, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and sadness.


It's important to remember that age-related hearing loss can be different for each person, and not everyone will have the same symptoms.


Once an audiologist has identified and diagnosed a type of hearing loss, they can determine a suitable rehabilitation method. This will vary depending on the situation. An audiologist will talk about appropriate treatment options. 

One possible method of rehabilitation is through the prescription of a hearing aid. The type of hearing aid can vary in output performance, size, style, and features, depending on the nature and severity of the hearing loss.

In severe cases a cochlear implant might be required, for example when hair cells are damaged or missing, or where sound isn't able to properly reach the hearing nerve.


It's important to routinely assess the hearing function to identify any hearing loss. Hearing checks can take place in the community, at work, or by visiting a doctor or audiologist. 

Our extensive range of dependable, PC-based screening audiometers provide a customised and flexible mobile or static screening solution. They also provide data management tailored to the user’s specific requirements, guaranteeing accurate and efficient testing.

Before choosing the correct treatment, it's important to accurately diagnose the cause and type of hearing loss.

We've developed a suite of easy-to-use diagnostic audiometers. Our devices can perform a wide range of hearing loss tests including AC, BC, speech, and special tests like ABLB, Stenger, SISI, Tone decay, HLS, and MHA.

To learn more about our audiometers, you can visit our audiometers webpage. Or contact our customer support team on +44 (0)1865 880 846 or via email.



1Johns Hopkins Medicine. Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis). Accessed at:,of%20the%20change%20at%20first.

2National Institute on Aging. Hearing Loss: A Common Problem for Older Adults. Accessed at:

3National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorder. Age-Related Hearing Loss (Presbycusis). Accessed at:

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