The epidemiology of hearing impairment in an Australian population

Centre for Population Studies in Epidemiology, Department of Human Services, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
International Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 9.18). 04/1999; 28(2):247-252. DOI: 10.1093/ije/28.2.247
Source: PubMed


This study measured the prevalence of hearing impairment, and major demographic factors that influence the prevalence, in a representative South Australian adult population sample aged > or = 15 years.

The study group was recruited from representative population surveys of South Australians. Participants in these surveys who reported a hearing disability were then recruited to an audiological study which measured air and bone conduction thresholds. In addition a sample of those people who reported no hearing disability were recruited to the audiological study.

The data reported in this study are the first in Australia to assess the prevalence of hearing impairment from a representative population survey using audiological methods. The data show that 16.6% of the South Australian population have a hearing impairment in the better ear at > or = 25 dBHTL and 22.2% in the worse ear at the same level. The results obtained in this representative sample compare well with those obtained in the British Study of Hearing, although some differences were observed.

Overall, there are only a few studies worldwide that have audiologically assessed the impairment of hearing from a representative population sample. The overall prevalence of hearing impairment in Australia is similar to that found in Great Britain, although there are some differences between the estimates of severity of impairment and some sex differences. The corroboration of the two studies reinforces the status of hearing impairment as the most common disability of adulthood. The present study also showed that there are a large number of Australians who may benefit from a more systematic community-based rehabilitation programme including the fitting of hearing aids. Secondly, the study identified the need for health goals and targets for hearing to be based on an epidemiological approach to the problem.

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Available from: Anne W Taylor, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "Self-report of hearing difficulties, using questionnaire instruments or often only one or two questions, has commonly been used to assess the prevalence of hearing loss in large epidemiological studies [14], [26]. Some studies [14], [27] have reported the relationship of self-report with audiometric measures but only rarely have self-report data been validated against standard audiometric measures [28]–[30]. Self-report assessed by a single question (‘Do you feel you have a hearing loss?’) has been reported to demonstrate high sensitivity and specificity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Healthy hearing depends on sensitive ears and adequate brain processing. Essential aspects of both hearing and cognition decline with advancing age, but it is largely unknown how one influences the other. The current standard measure of hearing, the pure-tone audiogram is not very cognitively demanding and does not predict well the most important yet challenging use of hearing, listening to speech in noisy environments. We analysed data from UK Biobank that asked 40-69 year olds about their hearing, and assessed their ability on tests of speech-in-noise hearing and cognition.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e107720. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107720 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in developed countries, with an estimated 278 million people globally suffering from a disabling hearing impairment [1], [2]. This number is predicted to rise as the population ages. "
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    ABSTRACT: The cochlear implant provides auditory cues to profoundly deaf patients by electrically stimulating the residual spiral ganglion neurons. These neurons, however, undergo progressive degeneration after hearing loss, marked initially by peripheral fibre retraction and ultimately culminating in cell death. This research aims to use gene therapy techniques to both hold and reverse this degeneration by providing a sustained and localised source of neurotrophins to the deafened cochlea. Adenoviral vectors containing green fluorescent protein, with or without neurotrophin-3 and brain derived neurotrophic factor, were injected into the lower basal turn of scala media of guinea pigs ototoxically deafened one week prior to intervention. This single injection resulted in localised and sustained gene expression, principally in the supporting cells within the organ of Corti. Guinea pigs treated with adenoviral neurotrophin-gene therapy had greater neuronal survival compared to contralateral non-treated cochleae when examined at 7 and 11 weeks post injection. Moreover; there was evidence of directed peripheral fibre regrowth towards cells expressing neurotrophin genes after both treatment periods. These data suggest that neurotrophin-gene therapy can provide sustained protection of spiral ganglion neurons and peripheral fibres after hearing loss.
    PLoS ONE 12/2012; 7(12):e52338. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0052338 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Prevalence of hearing loss in 58 Dutch adults with Pompe disease compared to the general population, stratified by age Dutch adult Pompe patients General population (Davis 1989; Johansson and Arlinger 2003; Wilson et al. 1999) "
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    ABSTRACT: Hearing loss has been recognized as an important cause of morbidity in infants with Pompe disease, a metabolic disorder caused by deficiency of acid α-glucosidase. It is unknown whether hearing is also affected in adult Pompe patients. We have studied the prevalence, severity, and type of hearing loss in 58 adult patients using tympanometry and pure-tone audiometry. Compared to normative data (International Organisation for Standardisation standard 7029), 72% of patients had impaired hearing thresholds at one or more frequencies in at least one ear. All measured frequencies were equally affected. All patients had a sensorineural type of hearing loss, pointing to cochlear or retrocochlear pathology. Categorised according to the standards of the World Health Organisation 21% of patients had a clinically relevant hearing loss (16% slight, 3% moderate, 2% profound). Though this suggests that hearing loss occurs in a considerable number of patients with Pompe disease, this prevalence is similar to that in the general population. Therefore, we conclude that hearing loss is not a specific feature of Pompe disease in adults.
    Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease 03/2012; 35(2):335-41. DOI:10.1007/s10545-011-9396-3 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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