Signs and symptoms of age-related hearing loss

What are the signs and symptoms of an age-related hearing loss? With age-related hearing loss there are certain typical signs to look out for.

Age-related hearing loss (also called presbycusis) develops slowly and gradually, so normally we do not notice the decline in our ability to hear.

Classic symptoms

In most cases, age related hearing loss affects our ability to hear high frequency tones. Therefore a classic symptom of an age-related hearing loss is problems hearing high-pitched sounds such as female or children’s voices or spoken consonants such as s, t, k, p, b and f.

Another common symptom of age-related hearing loss is problems hearing in situations with background noise such as parties, social gatherings, meetings, conventions and in restaurants.

Daily sounds may disappear

You may have lost the experience of common daily sounds.

Ask yourself: When did I last hear the birds singing, the humming of the refrigerator, the beep from the microwave oven or the sound of running water? If you miss these sounds, it could be signs of an age-related hearing loss.

Other signs and symptoms

Other signs and symptoms to look out for can be:

  • Turning up the volume on the television or radio
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Difficulty hearing people talking from behind
  • Difficulty understanding conversations over the telephone
  • Not hearing the doorbell or the telephone ringing
  • Certain sounds may seem overly loud
  • Ringing ears (tinnitus)

Hearing test

If you experience some of these symptoms, the best advice is to get your hearing checked by having a hearing test. You should then contact your family doctor (GP) or a hearing care professional.


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