Hearing Impairment in Old Age – detection, treatment, and associated risks

The cardinal symptom of presbycusis is impaired communication due to bilateral hearing impairment. Patients may be unaware of the problem for a long time because of its insidious progression. Evidence suggests that untreated hearing impairment in old age can have extensive adverse effects on the patient’s mental, physical, and social well-being. Early detection is possible with the aid of simple diagnostic tests or suitable questionnaires. In most cases, bilateral hearing aids are an effective treatment. Surgery is rarely indicated. For patients with uni- or bilateral deafness, a cochlear implant is the treatment of choice. These treatments can improve many patients’ quality of life.
The small amount of evidence that is currently available suggests that presbycusis is underdiagnosed and undertreated in Germany. Early detection by physicians of all specialties, followed in each case by a specialized differential diagnostic evaluation, is a desirable goal.
Author(s) Source
Löhler J, Cebulla M, Shehata-Dieler W, Volkenstein S, Völter C, Walther LE Dtsch Arztebl Int 2019; 116: 301-10. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0301
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