Key Points

Eighty percent of older American adults have untreated hearing loss. Hearing loss is associated with decreased quality of life, depression, communication disorders, social withdrawal and cognitive impairment.  This Geriatric Gem and Pearl reviews two types of hearing loss – sensorineural and nose-induced hearing loss.  Presbycusis is another term for age-related sensorineural hearing loss (ARHL) where damage to the cochlea, acoustic nerve (Cranial Nerve VIII), or Internal Auditory canal  can cause high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss  Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is related to direct mechanical injury to sensory hair cells in the cochlea from continuous noise exposure. 


Older Adult Hearing Loss and Screening


Bushman, LA, Belza, B., Christianson, P. (2012).  Older Adult Hearing Loss and Screening in Primary Care.  The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 8(7): 509-516.

Final Recommendation Statement: Hearing Loss in Older Adults: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. December 2014.

Lewis, TJ (2014).  Chapter 25: Hearing Impairments.  In RJ Ham, PD Sloane, GA Warshaw, JF Potter & E. Flaherty, Ham’s Primary Care Geriatrics: A Case-Based Approach (6th Ed).  Philadelphia:  Elsevier/Saunders: 291-300.

Meyer, C., Hickson, L. (2012).  What factors influence help-seeking for hearing impairment and hearing aid adoption in older adults?  International Journal of Audiology, 51:  66-74.

Pacala, JT, & Yueh, B. (2012).  Hearing deficits in the older patient.  “I Didn’t Notice Anything.” Journal of American Medical Association, 307:1185-1194.