Presbycusis is the medical term used to refer to the gradual loss of hearing as we grow older. Our ear has tiny hair inside that help us in hearing. They work by picking up sound waves and converting them into nerve signals for the brain to interpret. In presbycusis these tiny hair either get damaged or die as we age. The problem with presbycusis is that the damage of these hairs is permanent. They do not have the ability to grow back. Up till now no solid reason has been found as to why presbycusis occurs to us in our old age. Doctors only know that in presbycusis certain changes occur in our ear as we grow older which then cause damage to the hair and result in presbycusis.
Presbycusis does not only happen due to the aging of our body. Other factors can also contribute to presbycusis like going to concerts where the music is too loud, constantly using headphones etc. presbycusis can also happen to you if it runs in your family history. Finally another common factor of presbycusis is smoking. Those who smoke a lot are at a greater risk of developing presbycusis than those who do not smoke. And again there have been a few cases in which people develop presbycusis due to certain medications they have been taking or other medical conditions they have.
Presbycusis does not happen suddenly over night. Presbycusis is a very gradual process. You will first experience a loss of hearing high – frequency sounds mostly which involves people talking. As presbycusis gets worse you will find it difficult to hear even the low pitched sounds. Other symptoms that exist related to presbycusis are that you might start feeling certain sounds louder than they really are. Secondly when you are in noisy areas you will have difficulty hearing due to presbycusis. If you are developing presbycusis you will notice that you are having difficulty differentiating between high –pitched sounds such as those which involve “s” or “th” sounds. You will also feel that women are harder to hear than men’s voices. People with presbycusis often mention that they hear ringing sounds in their ears.
When it comes to treatment for presbycusis there is no solid cure but what you can do to help is wear hearing aids. A lot of assistive devices exist these days that help in hearing. There are many new kinds of hearing aids available as well that are more comfortable.
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