Age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) is the loss of hearing that gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults.

The aspects of age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in many older adults are often perceived as an unfortunate but inconsequential part of aging which occurs as we age, but is not determined by aging. Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have hearing difficulties. Having trouble hearing can make it hard to understand and follow directions, respond to warnings, and hear phones, doorbells, and smoke alarms. Hearing loss can also make it hard to follow doctors’ orders and simply enjoy talking with family and friends, leading to feelings of isolation and depression.

Researchers say hearing loss seems to speed up cognitive decline and think that treating hearing loss more aggressively could help delay depression, cognitive decline. The devastating impact of dementia on affected individuals and the burden imposed on their families and society has made the prevention and treatment of dementia a public health priority worldwide.

Interventions now for the prevention of ARHL would lead to a more than 10% decrease in the global prevalence of dementia by 2050. The Lorenzini Foundation is working to increase the awareness of the relationship between hearing loss and dementia and to stimulate interest and research in the field.