Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Presbycusis (Age-Related Hearing Loss)
Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a progressive loss of the
ability to hear high frequencies, which occurs as people get older. The primary
symptom is problems understanding speech, especially in the presence of
It is unknown whether a specific cause, such as long-term exposure
to excessive noise, contributes to age-related hearing loss. But it
does appear to be a genetic condition, as it tends to occur in families.
The number of nerve cells in the inner ear may begin to decline as
early as age 30 or 40, although hearing loss rarely becomes noticeable before
age 55. But hearing loss is not necessarily an inevitable part of aging.
Many people in their 80s do not have hearing loss.
There is no known cure for age-related hearing loss. Treatment is
focused on improving function, such as by using hearing aids.
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.