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Prevalence of hearing loss and need for aural rehabilitation in 85-year-olds: a birth cohort comparison, almost three decades apart

Journal article
Authors Hanna Göthberg
Ulf Rosenhall
T. Tengstrand
Lina Rydén
Hanna Wetterberg
Ingmar Skoog
André M. Sadeghi
Published in International Journal of Audiology
Pages 10
ISSN 1499-2027
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 10
Language en
Keywords age-related hearing loss (ARHL), aging, cohort-study, population-based, pure-tone audiometry, sex-differences, age, impairment, presbyacusis, disability, health, adults, life, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology, Otorhinolaryngology
Subject categories Geriatrics


Objective: Many individuals >80 years have difficulties with speech communication due to age-related hearing loss and would benefit from aural rehabilitation. As the proportion of older people increases, there is a need to investigate the prevalence of "disabling hearing loss" to calculate future rehabilitation need. The aims are to determine the prevalence of hearing loss in an unscreened birth cohort of 85-year olds, and to identify differences in audiometric results between two birth cohorts, born 28-29 years apart. Design: This is a population-based, cross-sectional study that is part of the Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Studies. Study sample: Hearing thresholds were measured and compared between 85-year olds born in 1930 (n = 286) and 1901-1902 (n = 249). Results: Based on the WHO criteria, the prevalence of "disabling hearing loss" was 45% for men and 43% for women in the latest birth cohort. Hearing thresholds (0.5-4 kHz) for men improved compared with the earlier birth cohort. No such difference was observed for women. Conclusion: The prevalence of age-related hearing loss over three decades has decreased among 85-year-old men, but has been retained in women. The improvement for men occurred predominantly in the low-mid frequencies. An increased need for aural rehabilitation is expected due to demographic changes.

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