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Self-reported hearing problems among older adults: prevalence and comparison to measured hearing impairment
Department of Clinical Medicine, Otorhinolaryngology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Medical Informatics Group, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Neurology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Otorhinolaryngology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
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2011 (English)In: Journal of american academy of audiology, ISSN 1050-0545, E-ISSN 2157-3107, Vol. 22, no 8, p. 550-559Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: There are not many population-based epidemiological studies on the association between self-reported hearing problems and measured hearing thresholds in older adults. Previous studies have shown that the relationship between self-reported hearing difficulties and measured hearing thresholds is unclear and, according to our knowledge, there are no previous population-based studies reporting hearing thresholds among subjects with hyperacusis.

PURPOSE: The aim was to investigate the prevalence of self-reported hearing problems, that is, hearing difficulties, difficulties in following a conversation in noise, tinnitus, and hyperacusis, and to compare the results with measured hearing thresholds in older adults.

RESEARCH DESIGN: Cross-sectional, population-based, and unscreened.

STUDY SAMPLE: Random sample of subjects (n=850) aged 54-66 yr living in the city of Oulu (Finland) and the surrounding areas.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Otological examination, pure tone audiometry, questionnaire survey

RESULTS: The prevalence of self-reported hearing problems was 37.1% for hearing difficulties, 43.3% for difficulties in following a conversation in noise, 29.2% for tinnitus, and 17.2% for hyperacusis. More than half of the subjects had no hearing impairment, or HI (BEHL[better ear hearing level]0.5-4 kHz<20 dB HL) even though they reported hearing problems. Subjects with self-reported hearing problems, including tinnitus and hyperacusis, had significantly poorer hearing thresholds than those who did not report hearing problems. Self-reported hearing difficulties predicted hearing impairment in the pure-tone average at 4, 6, and 8 kHz, and at the single frequency of 4 kHz.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that self-reported hearing difficulties are more frequent than hearing impairment defined by audiometric measurement. Furthermore, self-reported hearing difficulties seem to predict hearing impairment at high frequencies (4-8 kHz) rather than at the frequencies of 0.5-4 kHz, which are commonly used to define the degree of hearing impairment in medical and legal issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 22, no 8, p. 550-559
National Category
Otorhinolaryngology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-63419DOI: 10.3766/jaaa.22.8.7ISI: 000296128000007PubMedID: 22031679Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-80054065430OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-63419DiVA, id: diva2:1167530
Note

Funding agencies:

European ARHI Project QLRT-2001-00331 

Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2018-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Mäki-Torkko, Elina

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