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Presbycusis Treatment & Management

  • Author: Peter S Roland, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
 
Updated: Nov 24, 2015
 

Medical Care

Presbycusis is not curable, but the effects of the disease on patients’ lives can be mitigated.

  • Amplification devices: Properly fitted hearing aids may contribute to the rehabilitation of a patient with presbycusis. Older patients with arthritis in their fingers and visual difficulties need extra help in learning to use hearing aids. Patients using hearing aids may still experience difficulties with speech discrimination in noisy situations.
  • Lip reading: Lip reading may help patients with diminished speech discrimination and may help hearing aid users who have difficulty in noisy environments.
  • Assistive listening devices: These range from a simple amplification of the telephone signal to a device on the television that sends a signal across the room to a headset worn by a patient with hearing loss. The patient can amplify the sound without disturbing other people with normal hearing who are in the same room.
  • Cochlear implants: Some patients with presbycusis benefit from cochlear implants. Patients with cochlear changes and relatively intact spiral ganglia and central pathways appear to be the best candidates.

These measures are aimed at rehabilitating patients who already experience presbycusis. However, efforts are underway to develop therapies that treat the potential underlying causes of presbycusis, as well as mechanisms to actually prevent the disease altogether. With new studies showing possible genetic and nutritional causes of presbycusis, researchers are proposing treatments that address these underlying causes. For example, medications that block the production of reactive oxygen metabolites may lead to a treatment of presbycusis at the molecular level. Alternatively, a study by Derin et al showed that treatment with I-carnitine resulted in improvement in the ABR results of rats experiencing age-related hearing loss.[19] Unfortunately, most of these therapies are still in the investigational stages.

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Consultations

Rehabilitation of a patient with presbycusis takes time and patience. Specialists in the fields of otolaryngology, audiology, neurology, and psychology may all be involved.

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Diet

No well-established dietary restrictions are prescribed for patients with presbycusis. However, some researchers have recently suggested that a 30% caloric dietary restriction and the use of antioxidant dietary supplements may reduce the production of reactive oxygen metabolites that can harm the inner ear and lead to age-related hearing loss.

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Activity

No activity restrictions are prescribed for patients with presbycusis. However, patients should be warned that exposure to loud sounds can exacerbate sensorineural hearing loss.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Peter S Roland, MD Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, Professor and Chairman, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Director, Clinical Center for Auditory, Vestibular, and Facial Nerve Disorders, Chief of Pediatric Otology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Chief of Pediatric Otology, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas; President of Medical Staff, Parkland Memorial Hospital; Adjunct Professor of Communicative Disorders, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Chief of Medical Service, Callier Center for Communicative Disorders, University of Texas School of Human Development

Peter S Roland, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Auditory Society, The Triological Society, North American Skull Base Society, Society of University Otolaryngologists-Head and Neck Surgeons, American Neurotology Society, American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Otological Society

Disclosure: Received honoraria from Alcon Labs for consulting; Received honoraria from Advanced Bionics for board membership; Received honoraria from Cochlear Corp for board membership; Received travel grants from Med El Corp for consulting.

Coauthor(s)

Joe Walter Kutz, Jr, MD, FACS Assistant Professor, Associate Residency Director, Neurotology Fellowship Director, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Joe Walter Kutz, Jr, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Texas Medical Association, Triological Society, American Neurotology Society, Otosclerosis Study Group

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Gerard J Gianoli, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Pediatrics, Tulane University School of Medicine; President, The Ear and Balance Institute; Board of Directors, Ponchartrain Surgery Center

Gerard J Gianoli, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Otological Society, Society of University Otolaryngologists-Head and Neck Surgeons, Triological Society, American Neurotology Society, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Surgeons

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Vesticon<br/>Received none from Vesticon, Inc. for board membership.

Chief Editor

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA Professor of Otolaryngology, Dentistry, and Engineering, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Head and Neck Society

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Cerescan;RxRevu;SymbiaAllergySolutions<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Symbia<br/>Received from Allergy Solutions, Inc for board membership; Received honoraria from RxRevu for chief medical editor; Received salary from Medvoy for founder and president; Received consulting fee from Corvectra for senior medical advisor; Received ownership interest from Cerescan for consulting; Received consulting fee from Essiahealth for advisor; Received consulting fee from Carespan for advisor; Received consulting fee from Covidien for consulting.

Additional Contributors

Jack A Shohet, MD President, Shohet Ear Associates Medical Group, Inc; Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine

Jack A Shohet, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Neurotology Society, American Medical Association, California Medical Association

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Envoy Medical <br/>Received consulting fee from Envoy Medical for medical advisory board member. for: Envoy Medical .

Acknowledgements

Michelle C Marcincuk, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Consulting Staff, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology, Texas Health Care, PLLC

Michelle C Marcincuk, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, and Triological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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