What Is Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can occur at any age, but the risk increases as we age. Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) affects one-third of adults over the age of 60 and nearly half of people ages 75 to 85. It’s also a problem that affects men more than women.

More than 10 percent of men ages 65 to 74 are affected by tinnitus (ringing, hissing or roaring in the ear), and approximately 50 percent of all people affected by tinnitus also suffer from hearing loss and/or hyperacusis (oversensitivity to noise).

Women have unique hearing issues as well. Hearing loss in women often occurs with certain chronic inflammatory or degenerative diseases, or injury due to loud noises. Some types of breast cancer treatment can also produce hearing loss.

Types of hearing loss include:
  • Conductive: related to problems with the ear drum, canal or bones of the middle ear
  • Sensorineural: nerve-related hearing loss
  • Mixed: a combination of conductive and sensorineural
Hearing loss often can’t be reversed, but many types of hearing loss can be corrected with hearing aids or surgical treatment options.