In Scotland it is estimated there are over 750,000 adults with some sort of hearing impairment. 8 out of 10 of these adults are aged 60 or over.
Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to toxins or excessive noise as well as by certain infections; however, there is a natural, progressive loss of our ability to hear as we age known as presbycusis (sometimes written presbyacusis). This process of hearing loss begins at around the age of 40 but, as it develops slowly, it does not usually affect the ability to understand sounds until later in life. Presbycusis is likely to affect around 50% of people, to a greater or lesser extent, by the time they reach 60.
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