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June 04, 2010

Socioeconomic status may influence the risk of hearing loss

A Swedish study has shown that hearing problems can be associated with socio-economic status and noise exposure.

Socioeconomic status may influence the risk of hearing loss

The prevalence of hearing problems increases with age, is higher among men and persons with low self-rated socioeconomic status (social position relative to others, based on income, education, and occupation) and co-varies with exposure to noise at work. Those are the findings of a Swedish study, which also shows that severe hearing problems are already present in men and women under 40 years of age who are exposed to work-related noise.

Many suffer from hearing problems

The Swedish study reveals some alarming figures. 31% of the working population and 36 % of the non-working population suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus. That means that the hearing of every third Swede is affected negatively. Worldwide it is estimated that every sixth suffers from noticeable hearing loss. The figures from Sweden do not differentiate between hearing loss and tinnitus and it is therefore unclear how many have hearing loss and how many have tinnitus. The percentages are the total of people in Sweden with hearing loss and/or tinnitus.

The Study

A total of 18,734 individuals were invited to participate in the study, out of which 11,441 (61 %) enrolled. Of the participants 9,756 answered the questionnaire for those who work and 1,685 answered the version for non-workers. The results were published on, among others, PubMed. The aim of the study was to find out how great a hearing loss there is in the Swedish working and non-working population in relation to age, gender, socioeconomic status and noise exposure.

Source: www.pubmed.gov

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