We see and evaluate hundreds of children and adults every year for hearing loss. There are many causes of hearing loss that vary based on age. We are equipped to provide the most up to date diagnostic testing and treatment for all causes of hearing loss.
Causes of Hearing Loss
- Age related hearing loss (Presbycusis)
- Pediatric hearing loss
- Noised induced hearing loss
Presbycusis is the gradual loss of hearing that occurs as people age. It is a common disorder associated with aging. One in three older adults over age 65 has hearing loss. About half of people over age 75 have hearing loss.
Presbycusis usually occurs gradually and typically in both ears equally, with some people not immediately aware of the change.
What Causes Presbycusis
There may be many causes for presbycusis, but it most commonly occurs because of age-related changes in the following locations:
- Within the inner ear (most common)
- Within the middle ear
- Along the nerve pathways to the brain
Contributors to presbycusis include:
- Cumulative effects of environmental noises
- Loss of hair cells (sensory receptors in inner ear)
- Hereditary factors
- Various health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes
- Side effects of some medications, such as aspirin and certain antibiotics
The following are the most common symptoms of presbycusis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Speech of others sounds mumbled or slurred
- High-pitched sounds, such as "s" or "th" are hard to distinguish
- Conversations are difficult to understand, particularly when there is background noise
- Men's voices are easier to hear than women's
- Some sounds seem overly loud and annoying
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) may occur in one or both ears
The symptoms of presbycusis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
Treatment for Presbycusis
Specific treatment for presbycusis will be determined by the doctor based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
Treatment options for presbycusis may include:
- Avoiding loud noises and reducing noise exposure
- Wearing ear plugs or special fluid-filled ear muffs (to prevent further damage to hearing)
- Hearing aid(s)
- Assistive devices, such as telephone amplifiers
If you believe you have hearing loss, you may want to see one of our fellowship trained ear specialists (neurotologists) or audiologists for a hearing evaluation.
Children with hearing loss can either be born with hearing loss or develop it later in childhood. Approximately 50 percent of children born with hearing loss have a genetic origin; many of these causes can be identified on genetic testing. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to allow normal language and hearing development to occur. Many children with hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, but more severe cases may need cochlear implantation. We are equipped to provide the most up to date diagnostic testing and treatment for all causes of hearing loss. Please contact our office today if you are concerned about your child’s hearing.
Otosclerosis is a disease that causes bony remodeling near the third hearing bone (stapes). This leads to stiffening of the stapes bone that restricts its movement and causes hearing loss. Otosclerosis is the most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, and is more common in females than males. Approximately 50 percent of patients have a known affected family member. Patients typically notice progressive hearing loss that is most commonly worse in one ear. The goal of treatment is hearing improvement. This can be done through the use of hearing aids or in some instances through surgery. Please contact us today if you or family members are interested in being evaluated.