Ear-Related Problems in the Elderly

  • Nages Nagaratnam
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
  • Gary Cheuk


With ageing, there are a number of structural and pathological processes associated with changes to functional components of the ear. Some of the common ear problems in the elderly are hearing impairment or loss, tinnitus, imbalance and vertigo. Presbycusis is the most common type of hearing impairment in the elderly and is age-related. Exposure to low and repeated sounds over an extended period results in damage to the inner ear. In tinnitus, it had been proposed that the changes are within the auditory pathways, auditory cortex and emotional limbic systems. Vertigo is a feeling of movement in space and this could be objective when the surrounding objects appear to turn in relation to the individual or subjective, the reverse. Balance or the sensation of equilibrium is maintained by visual, vestibular and somatosensory functions of the sensory systems and integrated sensory inputs within the central nervous system. Falls result from a single or combination of environmental and medical factors that interact with physiological changes which increase with age.


Age-related changes Hearing loss Presbycusis Tinnitus Vertigo Falls 

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nages Nagaratnam
    • 1
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
    • 2
  • Gary Cheuk
    • 3
  1. 1.Sydney Medical School (Westmead)The University of SydneyNorth RocksAustralia
  2. 2.Norwest Specialist Medical GroupBella VistaAustralia
  3. 3.Blacktown-Mt Druitt HospitalBlacktownAustralia

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