Background: Hearing loss needs to be diagnosed and treated early, especially in older individuals, since presbycusis potentially increases the risk of depression and dementia. However, standard data on hearing thresholds across the life-span in Japanese individuals are lacking. Methods: In a retrospective consecutive sample of 10681 native-Japanese speakers (37.3% men; 10–99 years; left-right hearing threshold difference of <15 dB for all tested pure tones; free of external, middle, or inner ear disease), we determined standard age-decade and sex-specific pure-tone air-conduction (125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, and 8000 Hz) hearing threshold norms. The main outcome measures were pure-tone averages for both ears by age-decade and sex. Findings: For participants in their 20s, hearing thresholds at higher frequencies (>1000 Hz) were significantly worse in men than in women. For participants ≥70 years, hearing thresholds at low frequencies were higher in women. Hearing thresholds at 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz tended to deteriorate, starting in the teenage years through the 50s, with some decades showing significantly worse decline. Sex differences were absent in the youngest and oldest groups. Interpretation: Standard age- and sex-specific audiometric data reported here for Japanese individuals over nine age-decades are based on the largest dataset analyzed to date. While hearing thresholds of men and women in the very young and the very old age groups were indistinguishable in their cohorts, patterns of hearing changes for other age cohorts differed by direction and sex. Funding: The authors had no outside funding for this study.
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