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Hearing loss in older adults

Aging often leads to hearing issues

A third of people over the age of 60 and half of people over 85 have hearing loss, according to the American Academy of Audiology.

Hearing loss in older adults — known as presbycusis — often is a combination of changes to the structures of the inner ear, blood flow to the inner ear, the hearing nerve and how the brain processes speech and sounds.

Common symptoms of presbycusis include difficulty hearing female voices, children's voices and background noises, as well as the loss of speech clarity. Hearing loss due to aging can be worsened by other health factors such as diabetes, poor circulation, noise exposure and certain medications.

People with untreated hearing loss experience a decreased quality of life. Untreated hearing loss can lead to sadness, depression, anxiety, paranoia and poor social relationships.

The most common way to treat hearing loss in older adults is through hearing aids.