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West J Med. 1997 Oct;167(4):247-52.

Hear ye? Hear ye! Successful auditory aging.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195-7923, USA.


Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is a multifactorial process that affects nearly all people in their senior years. Most cases are due to a loss of cochlear hair cell function and are well mediated by communication courtesy and modern amplification technology. Severe hearing loss is generally due to cochlear problems or age-related diseases and may require speech reading, assistive listening devices, and cochlear implants, depending on the degree of loss. Presbycusis may seriously impair communication and contribute to isolation, depression, and possibly dementia. Accurate diagnosis and prompt remediation are widely available but are frequently underused. Geriatric health care and well-being is enhanced by the detection and remediation of communication disorders.

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