Hearing loss that occurs gradually as you age (presbycusis) is common. According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated one-third of people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 75 and close to one-half of those older than 75 have some degree of hearing loss.
Doctors believe that heredity and chronic exposure to loud noises are the main factors that contribute to hearing loss over time. Other factors, such as earwax blockage, can prevent your ears from conducting sounds as well as they should.
You can't reverse hearing loss. However, you don't have to live in a world of muted, less distinct sounds. You and your doctor or hearing specialist can take steps to improve what you hear.
Aug. 23, 2011
- Hearing loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/hearingloss/hearinglossdefined/01.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Weber PC. Evaluation of hearing loss in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Lustig LR, et al. Ear, nose, & throat disorders. In: McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2011. 50th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2613. Accessed April 25, 2011.
- Weber PC. Etiology of hearing loss in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Weener DJ, et al. Evaluation and management of hearing loss in older adults. Clinical Geriatrics. 2010;18:20.
- Common sounds. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/education/teachers/common_sounds.asp. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Learn more about hearing loss prevention: Noise meter. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. http://184.108.40.206/niosh/topics/noise/abouthlp/noisemeter_flash/soundMeter_flash.html. Accessed April 28, 2011.
- Occupational noise exposure — 1910.95. U.S. Department of Labor. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9735. Accessed April 28, 2011.
- How loud is too loud? American Tinnitus Association. http://www.ata.org/about-tinnitus/how-loud-too-loud. Accessed April 28, 2011.
- Isaacson B. Hearing Loss. The Medical Clinics of North America. 2010;94:973.