08 April 2021

Nearly one in six in the Philippines has serious hearing problems

15% of the population of the Philippines have a moderate or worse hearing loss, a study finds. The prevalence of serious hearing loss is much higher in the Philippines than in high-income countries.

The overall prevalence of moderate or worse hearing loss in the Philippine population is 15% according to a study. In the study, the prevalence was 7.5% in children, 14.7% in adults between 18 and 65 years and 49.1% in adults aged 65 years or older.

Risk factors

Factors associated with a greater risk of moderate hearing loss in the better ear were the presence of middle ear conditions and socioeconomic status. Age was also associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.

Prevalence of wax occlusion and outer and middle ear disease was 12.2% and 14.2% respectively.

Increased prevalence and severity

The study found that the prevalence of hearing loss and outer and middle ear disease was comparatively high in the Philippines when compared with the rates of hearing loss reported in high-income countries. Higher proportions of severe to profound hearing loss were also identified in the study. This indicates that there is both an increased prevalence and severity of hearing loss in the Philippine population than among populations in high-income countries.

About the study

The study was based on a national cross-sectional survey of hearing loss and ear disease conducted in the Philippines in 2011 and was led by staff from the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in the Philippines. The study comprised 2,275 adults and children.

In the study, moderate or worse hearing loss was defined as a hearing loss of 41 dB HL or more at four frequencies.

The study, "A National Survey of Hearing Loss in the Philippines", was published in Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health.

Sources: pmlegacy.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health

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