27 July 2004

One man in two aged 48 or older suffers from hearing loss

Age is the main factor in hearing loss. And men are three times as likely as women to suffer hearing loss regardless of age, occupation, general health condition and noise exposure, according to an American study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, 1998, volume 148.

Other findings in the study: Every five years after the age of 48, the risk of suffering hearing loss is raised by 90%. Among 48 to 59 year-olds one in five suffers from hearing loss. Among those 80 years and older, nine out of ten suffer from hearing loss. And among men over the age of 48, half suffer from hearing loss.

Among the study participants, 45.6% suffered from hearing loss. Of those, 58.1% had mild hearing loss, 30.6% suffered from moderate and 11.3% from severe hearing loss.

The study included 3,753 people in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, from 1993 to 1995. All participants had their hearing tested through pure tone air- and bone-conduction audiometry.

The study showed a higher incidence of hearing loss among people from lower socioeconomic spheres and among people whose occupation involved work in noisy environments.

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic affliction in The United States surpassed only by arthritis and hypertension. As the population ages, sensorineural hearing loss will become more prevalent.

Sources: Clinician Reviews 2002; 12 (6): 62-67 & American Journal of Epidemiology 1998; Vol. 148, No. 9.

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