22 October 2019

Very high prevalence of hearing loss among Chinese adults

Nearly 30% of the participants in a Chinese study had a speech frequency hearing loss and more than 40% had a high-frequency hearing loss.

Hearing loss among Chinese adults seems to be quite common. The prevalence of speech-frequency and high-frequency hearing loss was 27.9% and 42.9% respectively among participants in a study carried out in Zhejiang, China.

In the study, there were significant differences in auditory thresholds between the genders. 31.6% of the males vs. 24.1% of the females had a hearing loss at speech frequency level. At high frequency level, 48.9% of the males and 36.8% of the females had a hearing loss.

Study data

A total of 3,754 adults aged 18–98 years and living in Zhejiang province in China participated in the study.

Pure-tone audiometric thresholds were measured at frequencies of 0.125–8 kHz for each participant. With the pure-tone average (PTA) at speech frequencies (0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz; speech-PTA) and high frequencies (3, 4, 6 and 8 kHz; high-PTA). All the participants were also asked to complete a structured questionnaire.

Hearing loss was defined as speech-PTA of ≥26 dB in the better ear.

Factors associated with hearing loss

In addition, the study found that education, personal income, noise exposure, smoking status and drinking status were significantly associated with hearing loss.

Unhealthy lifestyles affect hearing

Another survey carried out in China showed that 66.3% of the 2,002 respondents believed unhealthy lifestyles resulted in hearing impairment among Chinese youth.

While 79.7% of the respondents believed they had good hearing abilities, 70.1% of them expressed the concern that unhealthy exposure to sounds would harm their hearing, according to the survey conducted by China Youth Daily, www.ecns.cn

Of all the respondents in the survey, 2.2% are born in the 2000s, 30.1% in the 1990s and 50.2% in the 1980s.

The study “Hearing threshold levels and hearing loss among people in Zhejiang, China: a population-based cross-sectional study” was published in BMJ Open in 2019.

Sources: BMJ Open and www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and www.ecns.cn

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