While hearing loss can have a variety of causes, including infection and some medications, presbycusis is the term for the gradual decline in ear function that occurs as people age. “The sensory nerve endings in the organ of hearing become structurally damaged,” said Dr. Gordon B. Hughes, program director of clinical trials for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “There are other changes in chemistry and such which take place as well, but the structural damage is what causes the permanent hearing loss.”
Most often the problem is the loss of sensory receptors in the inner ear known as hair cells, experts say. Heart disease, high blood pressure and vascular conditions caused by problems like diabetes can also play a role by reducing the blood supply to the ear.
Read the full article at The New York Times.