Presbycusis Age Related Hearing Loss

March 17, 2021
age related hearing loss- 2 women checking phone
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The term “presbycusis” refers to hearing loss that is associated with the cochlear degenerative process of ageing. By definition, presbycusis is bilateral, symmetrical, and slowly progressive.

Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in the elderly, and it is becoming a severe social and health problem. Especially in the elderly, age related hearing loss can impair the exchange of information, thus significantly impacting everyday life, causing loneliness, isolation, dependence, and frustration, as well as communication disorders.

Due to the ageing of the population in Cyprus, presbycusis is a growing problem that has been reported to reduce quality of life. Progression of presbycusis cannot be remediated; therefore to best manage this condition requires early recognition and rehabilitation, and should also include an evaluation of quality of life status and its assessment.

The Impact of Age Related Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a common problem associated with growing old, and it is likely to become more of an issue with changing population demographics in the developed world. The impact of hearing loss may be profound, with consequences for the social, functional, and psychological well being of the person.

Our lack of understanding of this condition process and our inability to remediate its progression are important parts of the problem. Currently clinicians can only use family history, the history of onset and progression, and the results of audiometric testing to determine the degree of impairment, to estimate the potential for future hearing loss, and to make recommendations for amplification with hearing aids.

Presbycusis - The Most Common Cause of Heaing Loss

Presbycusis is the most common cause of adult hearing deficiency; it is considered the most prevalent sensory impairment in the elderly, affecting individuals aged 75 years and older. As our society matures, there are more people living into their 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond, helped by improved nutrition and health care.

It has been reported in the United States that presbycusis affects 40% of the population older than 75 years of age, and, in our ageing society, it is becoming more prevalent. The 1995 UK national study of hearing disorders found that 20% of adults had some degree of hearing impairment in the better hearing ear; 75% of those are over 60 years of age.

Recent estimations suggest that the number of senior citizens in the US with significant hearing loss could increase to 35–40 million by the year 2030.

The occurrence of presbycusis is thought to be determined predominantly by genetic or hereditary factors but it also can be influenced by environmental factors, such as noise, drugs that can affect the ears, alcohol, and diabetes.

Hearing Loss and Quality of Life

Understanding the impact of hearing loss on quality of life is of great importance, as difficulties with communication affect interactions with other people. This is an important aspect of everyday life, which can be seriously impaired in individuals with hearing loss, leading to a perceived reduction of quality of life. The term “quality of life” is used to evaluate the general well being of individuals.

Considerable agreement exists regarding the idea that the evaluation of quality of life is multidimensional: physical well being, material well being, social well being, and emotional well being.

It has now been reported by several authors that hearing loss is an increasingly important public health problem that has been linked to reduced quality of life, as it can impair the exchange of information, significantly impacting daily life, especially for elderly people.

Reported effects of hearing loss on quality of life are:

  • emotional reactions, such as loneliness, isolation, dependence, frustration, depression, anxiety, anger, embarrassment, frustration
  • guilt behavioral reactions, such as bluffing, withdrawing, blaming, and demanding
  • cognitive reactions, such as confusion, difficulty focusing, distracting thoughts, decreased self-esteem, and communication disorders

  Identifying Individuals with Presbycusis

Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) is a complex disease that is influenced by genetic, environmental, and medical factors. It is an increasingly important public health problem that can lead to reduced quality of life, isolation, dependence, and frustration.

We need to improve our knowledge of this condition in an attempt to remediate its progression. It is also very importance to improve methods of identifying individuals with presbycusis and deteriorating quality of life, thus improving services for providing hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and auditory rehabilitation.

Identifying individuals with hearing loss, supplying appropriate hearing aids or other listening devices, and teaching coping strategies may have a positive impact on the quality of life of older people.
If you yourself, or a family member, are concerned about your hearing health, you can contact Hearmore4Less here.

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