With age, the ossicles tend to merge, which means that only low-frequency sounds are emitted. This hearing loss is caused by a nervous disorder common in older people. This condition of hearing loss is called presbycusis and changes with age. It is the result of the degeneration of the nervous tissue of the ear and the vestibulocochlear nerve. About 30-35% of adults aged 65-75 and about 40% of those over 75 have this disease. This hearing loss is usually associated with high-pitched sounds like a chirping bird or the ringing of a telephone. On the contrary, low notes can be heard very clearly.
Presbycusis can occur for a variety of reasons. It usually occurs due to changes in the inner ear due to aging, but can also occur due to changes in the middle ear or certain changes in the nerve pathways leading to the brain, which are very complex in nature. Presbycusis usually occurs in both ears and affects them equally. Because the loss is very gradual in this case, people may not notice their hearing loss.
Sounds seem less clear and quieter to those with presbycusis. This creates difficulty hearing and understanding language which may sound mumbled or blurry. High notes such as “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish, while a male voice appears clearer than that of a female high voice. Some sounds can sound uncomfortably loud and sometimes annoying. Tinnitus can also occur.
Presbycusis is sensorineural hearing loss. It can also be due to changes in the blood supply to the ear due to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes-related vascular disease, or other circulatory problems. This loss can be mild, moderate or severe. Sometimes presbycusis can be a conductive hearing loss. This means that the loss of sound sensitivity can be caused by abnormalities of the outer ear and / or the middle ear. Such abnormalities can include reduced or reduced eardrum function or reduced function of the middle ear ossicles, which transmit sound waves from the eardrum to the inner ear.
There are many ways to treat presbycusis. Hearing aids may be a solution for a few people, while others may not benefit much. As age-related hearing loss occurs more and more, a lot of research is being done. For example, some scientists have succeeded in identifying and mapping some of the genetic causes of age-related hearing loss. Additionally, a possible link between smoking and hearing loss has been discovered in recent years. The Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audio-Logic devoted an entire issue to hearing loss and aging (special issue of June 1997). Despite its length, the foreword is very informative and contains links to informative material.