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What Causes Hearing Loss in Elderly?

Aging alters multiple functions in your body. Hearing loss can be one of them. Age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is commonly seen in older adults. Studies show approximately 1-2 adults over the age of 65 have hearing loss and half of those over the age of 75 experience difficulty in hearing.

Hearing loss happens when there is a decrease in the perception of sound. It can be partial or total, sudden or gradual, temporary or permanent, affecting one or both the ears.

Causes of age-related hearing loss

Age-related hearing loss occurs gradually over time. The main cause can be various changes in the inner ear, including:

  • Changes in the structures of the inner ear
  • Changes in blood flow to the ear
  • Impairment in the nerves responsible for hearing
  • Changes in the way that the brain processes speech and sound
  • Damage to the tiny hairs in the ear that are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain

Following conditions or disorders can also be responsible for Age-related hearing loss:

  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Certain medications
  • The family history of hearing loss
  • Smoking

Symptoms of age-related hearing loss

  • Inability to hear high-pitched sounds (voices of females or children)
  • Certain sounds seeming overly loud
  • Difficulty hearing in areas that are noisy
  • Difficulty hearing the difference between “s” and “th” sounds
  • Ringing in the ears(tinnitus)
  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio louder than normal
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Being unable to understand conversations over the telephone
  • Discharge or bleeding from the ear
  • Deep earache, or pain in the ear canal
  • Pressure or a “stuffy” feeling inside the ears
  • Dizziness or problems with balance or equilibrium
  • Nausea

The doctor needs to be notified of any of these symptoms. Sometimes hearing problems can be serious. Seek professional advice as soon as possible.
Visit an ear specialist to get the right diagnosis and treatment. An otolaryngologist will try to find out why you’re having trouble hearing and offer treatment options. An audiologist will identify and measure the type and degree of hearing loss. A hearing aid specialist evaluates basic hearing tests, offer counseling, and fit and test hearing aids.


Age-related hearing loss is a get s worse with time. As such, there is no cure for age-related hearing loss. However, using the following assistive devices can improve the hearing ability:

Hearing aids

  • Assistive devices, such as telephone amplifiers
  • Lessons in sign language or lip reading (for severe hearing loss)

In people who are severely hard of hearing, the doctor may recommend a cochlear implant which is surgically implanted into the ear to make sounds somewhat louder.

Visit our ENT specialist (otolaryngologist), Dr. Mohit Bhutani, at CMC for consultation regarding hearing loss.