01 June 2011

Hearing loss widespread among elderly

Increased age and male gender seems to heighten the occurrence of hearing loss.

A study shows that almost two-thirds of elderly Americans experience hearing loss. Gender, age and race are thought to be important contributing factors.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore investigated the prevalence of hearing loss among 717 adults aged 70 years and older, as well as its associative factors and hearing aid use.

According to the study, age, gender and race were the factors most strongly associated with hearing loss. Increased age and male gender seems to heighten the occurrence, while black race seems to protect against hearing loss.

Use of hearing aids
The use of hearing aids varies corresponding to the degree of the hearing loss. The study finds that 40% of adults with moderate hearing loss wear a hearing aid, whereas only 3.4% of those with mild hearing loss use hearing aids.

According to the researchers, additional research is needed to determine the epidemiological and physiological basis for the protective effect of black race against hearing loss and to determine the role of hearing aids in those with a mild hearing loss.

In the study, hearing loss was defined as a speech frequency pure tone average of more than 25 dB in the better ear.

Source: www.doctorslounge.com & http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org

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