Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Biological Sciences

Publication Date



Age-related hearing loss, known as presbyacusis, is characterized by the progressive deterioration of auditory sensitivity associated with the aging process and is the leading cause of adult auditory deficiency in the USA. Presbyacusis is described as a progressive, bilateral, high-frequency hearing loss that is manifested on audiometric assessment by a moderately sloping pure tone audiogram. Approximately 23% of the population between 65 and 75 years of age, and 40% of the population older than 75 years of age are affected by this condition. It was estimated in 1980 that 11% of the population was 76 years or older and this number is expected to almost double by the year 2030. When one considers that the population over 65 years of age is experiencing the most accelerated development of hearing loss, the potential socioeconomic ramifications are staggering. Curiously, the frequency of presbyacusis varies across different societies. This discrepancy has been attributed to many factors including genetics, diet, socioeconomic factors, and environmental variables. The purpose of this article is to review the various molecular mechanisms underlying presbyacusis and to offer insights into potential methods of mitigating the effects of aging on hearing impairment.


This article was originally published in Acta Otolaryngologica. The full-text article from the publisher is not available.


Acta Oto-Laryngologica


© Taylor & Francis 2004.