ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

4aBV1. Presbyacusis: An overview.

John H. Mills

Dept. of Otolaryngol. and Commun. Sci., Medical Univ. of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Ave., Charleston, SC 29425

Presbyacusis is defined operationally as age-related hearing loss. It is a common problem and will become even more prevalent in the future. Age-related histopathological changes have been discovered at nearly every location in the aging auditory system from the external ear to the cochlea to the auditory brainstem and temporal lobe. Even for a given person, histopathology can be observed at multiple sites. Moreover, for individual human subjects it remains difficult, if not impossible, to separate age-related hearing loss from hearing loss caused by exposure to noise and other ototoxic agents (sociocusis), or from hearing loss caused by other disease processes (nosoacusis). Most of the research on presbyacusis can be placed into three categories: cross-sectional epidemiologic (audiometric surveys) studies; clinical studies with the emphasis on histopathology of the cochlea, psychophysics, and speech perception; and most recently, there have been a number of efforts to develop an animal model (mouse, rat, gerbil) of the aging human ear. Highlights from these research efforts will be presented with a focus on evoked potentials and masking in aging human and animal subjects. [Work supported by NIH DC00422.]