Hearing loss that gradually occurs with age (presbycusis) is common. About a third of 65 to 75 year olds in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. For those over 75, that number is roughly 1 to 2.

Hearing loss is defined as one of three types:


The signs and symptoms of hearing loss can include:

The reasons

To understand how hearing loss occurs, it can be helpful to first understand how you hear.

Thousands of tiny hairs are attached to nerve cells in the cochlea that help convert sound vibrations into electrical signals that are transmitted to your brain. Your brain converts these signals into sounds.

Risk factors

Factors that can damage or lose hair and nerve cells in the inner ear include:


Hearing loss can have a significant impact on the quality of your life. Older people with hearing loss may report feelings of depression. Because hearing loss can make it difficult to speak, some people feel isolated. Hearing loss is also linked to cognitive impairment and decline.

The mechanism of interaction between hearing loss, cognitive impairment, depression and isolation is being actively studied. Early research suggests that treating hearing loss can have positive effects on cognitive performance, especially memory.


Here are some steps you can take to prevent noise-related hearing loss and keep age-related hearing loss from getting worse:

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