access intranet after hours circle-arrow apply blog caret circle arrow close closer look community outreach community outreach contact contact us down arrow facebook lock solid find a provider find a clinical trial find a provider find a researcher find faculty find-a-service how to apply join leadership left arrow locations logo make a gift map location maximize minimize my chart my chart notification hp notification lp next chevron right nxt prev pay your bill play previous quality and safety refer a patient request a speaker request appointment request an appointment residents corner rss search search jobs Asset 65 submit a story idea symptom checker Arrow Circle Up twitter youtube Dino Logo External Link University Logo Color University Logo Solid Health Logo Solid Arrow Right Circle Book Calendar Date Calendar Search Date Diploma Certificate Dollar Circle Donate Envelope Graduation Cap Map Pin Map Search Phone Pills Podcast

Hearing Loss

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

Presbycusis

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
  • Aging
  • Various health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes
  • Side effects of some medications, such as aspirin and certain antibiotics

Presbycusis Symptoms

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.

Pediatric Hearing Loss

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

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.