Hearing Loss

Frequently Asked Questions

2. What types of hearing loss are most common in older adults?

Presbycusis is common in older adults. Presbycusis comes on gradually as a person ages and mostly affects people over 50. Doctors do not know why presbycusis happens, but it seems to run in families. Presbycusis may make it hard for a person to tolerate loud sounds or to hear what others are saying. This type of hearing loss involves damage to the inner ear and is permanent.

Tinnitus, also common in older people, is the ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sound in the ears frequently caused by presbycusis, exposure to loud noise or certain medications. Tinnitus can accompany any type of hearing loss. It also can be a sign of other important health problems, too, such as allergies and problems in the heart and blood vessels. Tinnitus may come and go, or stop altogether.