SoundSpace Online

Auditory Development in Adulthood

It is well known that hearing levels often decrease with age; this is often referred to as presbycusis. Please visit this Canadian Academy of Audiology website page for more information on presbycusis and other causes of hearing lossTypically hearing for higher frequency sounds begins to decrease first and for some people, this hearing loss is increased by the cumulative effects of a lifetime of exposure to noise.  Hearing loss due to aging is not inevitable, but research shows that over half of people over the age of 75 have some degree of hearing loss. The World Health Organization estimates that there will be more than 500 million people over the age of 60 who will have significant hearing loss from aging by the year 2015 ([190]).


However, as with children, the effects of age are not limited to just the outer, middle and inner ear. The auditory pathways and auditory areas of the brain also show reductions in the speed and efficiency with which they transmit, and understand auditory information. Overall, decreases in hearing and auditory processing in seniors can impact social life because of difficulty participating in conversations, e.g. when out for dinner, and has been linked to depression, cognitive decline and feelings of being excluded. Please visit The Hearing Review article on consequences of age related hearing loss by Dr. Frank Lin. 

The Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (NHBRU), which is part of the National Institute for Hearing Research (NIHR), have created a resource with videos and other content on hearing aids and management which can be found on this C2Hear YouTube channel page