Presbycusis is due to the accumulative hearing loss with age.
When people age their hearing is not as astute as in their younger years. This is because many people develop sensorineural hearing loss. It is not entirely known how much of this is due to genetic factors and and how much is due to environmental factors. Also, males are more affected by this than females.
There seems to be a stiffening of a membrane in the inner ear that is essential for hearing. Also, the hair cells that register the different frequencies and the nerve pathways age. Presbycusis affects the higher frequencies first (18 to 20 khz). In many males above age 55 to 60 the frequencies of 4 to 8 khz are affected, and this is when the person has problems with speech discrimination. They complain that they cannot understand conversations at noisy parties or against the background of any noisy environment. They feel that people around them “mumble”. An assessment by an ENT specialist is warranted and often hearing aids will be prescribed with success.
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