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Which of the following causes presbycusis?
  • A
  • B
    High levels of noise exposure
  • C
    Earwax blockages
  • D
Learning Objective Define the main causes of the following hearing defects/loss: ‘conductive deafness’; ‘noise-induced hearing loss’ (NIHL); ‘presbycusis’.


Presbycusis is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most individuals as they grow older. The loss associated with presbycusis is usually greater for high-pitched sounds. For example, it may be difficult for someone to hear the nearby chirping of a bird or the ringing of a telephone. However, the same person may be able to hear clearly the low-pitched sound of a truck rumbling down the street.

There are many causes of presbycusis. Most commonly it arises from changes in the inner ear of a person as he or she ages, but presbycusis can also result from changes in the middle ear or from complex changes along the nerve pathways leading to the brain. Presbycusis most often occurs in both ears, affecting them equally. Because the process of loss is gradual, people who have presbycusis may not realize that their hearing is diminishing.

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