Lancet. 2005 Sep 24-30;366(9491):1111-20. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67423-5.


The inevitable deterioration in hearing ability that occurs with age--presbycusis--is a multifactorial process that can vary in severity from mild to substantial. Left untreated, presbycusis of a moderate or greater degree affects communication and can contribute to isolation, depression, and, possibly, dementia. These psychological effects are largely reversible with rehabilitative treatment. Comprehensive rehabilitation is widely available but underused because, in part, of social attitudes that undervalue hearing, in addition to the cost and stigma of hearing aids. Remediation of presbycusis is an important contributor to quality of life in geriatric medicine and can include education about communication effectiveness, hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and cochlear implants for severe hearing loss. Primary care physicians should screen and refer their elderly patients for assessment and remediation. Where hearing aids no longer provide benefit, cochlear implantation is the treatment of choice with excellent results even in octogenarians.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cochlea / pathology
  • Cochlea / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Presbycusis* / diagnosis
  • Presbycusis* / pathology
  • Presbycusis* / physiopathology
  • Presbycusis* / therapy