When Does Age-Related Hearing Loss Start?

This blog has been reviewed and approved by a hearing care professional.

Age-related hearing loss, also known as Presbycusis, is one of the most common health conditions affecting older adults. It can begin as early as in a person’s thirties or forties. By the age of 80, most people will have experienced some form of hearing loss. Here is some basic data on how many people have hearing loss by age brackets, according to the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS):
Ages 20 to 39: 15%
Ages 40 to 59: 40%
Ages 60 to 79: 78%

What is Age-Related Hearing Loss?

Age-related hearing loss first affects the ability to hear higher pitches. This may include soft speech sounds, greater difficulty hearing someone with a higher pitched voice (e.g., women and children) and mishearing beginnings or endings of words.

The hearing loss commonly arises from changes in the inner ear as we age, or from complex changes along the nerve pathways from the ear to the brain.

You can read more in our full guide on the different types of hearing loss.

What Causes Age-Related Hearing Loss?

While age-related loss is considered to happen naturally as people age, there are a number of factors that can contribute. These can include*:

Drinking alcohol
Exposure to loud noise
Certain medications
Exposure to heavy metals such as mercury or lead

These factors can have a negative effect on the condition of the hair cells found in the inner ear. Once the hair cells are damaged, there are fewer hairs to effectively transmit sound from your inner ear to the brain which may result in hearing loss. You can try to help prevent this by wearing hearing protection. This is very important in situations where there is repeated or regular exposure to loud noise.

Is There a Cure?

There is no cure for age-related hearing, but there are a number of solutions that can help you maintain your normal life. First, you need to identify that you have hearing loss by having a hearing assessment. Once you know that you have hearing loss your hearing care professional can review your treatment solutions. They will run you through your options and work with you to recommend a hearing aid to help you hear better.

What You Can Do

Age-related hearing loss can start as early as in your thirties or forties. By the age of eighty most people will have experienced hearing loss in their life. At HearCANADA, we recommend anyone over the age of 50 to have their hearing assessed annually.

Contact your local HearCANADA hearing centre to book your hearing test today.