The Prevalence, risk factors and impacts of hearing impairment in an older Australian community: the Blue Mountains Hearing Study. Libby Harricks memorial oration

Paul Mitchell, Elena Rochtchina, Maryanne Golding, Philip Newall, Wayne Smith, Robert G. Cumming, Stephen R. Leeder, Jie J. Wang, Suriya Foran, David Hartley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

    Abstract

    There have been few recent large population-based studies to estimate the prevalence, risk factors and impacts of age-related hearing impairment. Our study aimed to provide these data for the cohort of older persons attending 5-year examinations of the Blue Mountains Study, in a defined area, west of Sydney, Australia.Of 2696 eligible residents, 2015 persons (75%) aged 55-99(mean 70 years) were examined. A detailed questionnaire was administered and air and bone-conduction audio metric thresholds measured from 0.25 to 8KHz. Thresholds were higher in men than in women and in left compared with right ears. Hearing loss,defined as >25dBHL in the better ear averaged over 4 frequencies,was found in 39.3% of subjects. It was mild (>25 to ≤40 dBHL) in25.9%, moderate (40 to ≤60 dBHL) in 11.2%, marked (60 to≤90dBHL) in 2.3% and profound (>90 dBHL) in 0.4%. After adjusting for gender, the odds for hearing loss doubled with each increasing decade of age. Hearing loss was independently associated with both the duration and severity of reported work-related noise exposure (70% increased risk), the presence and duration of type2 diabetes (50% increased risk), current smoking (40% increased risk), together with lower educational attainment and past history of stroke. Regular alcohol consumption was associated with a slightly reduced risk of hearing loss. Hearing impairment also impacted negatively on participants’ perception of their general health and was independently associated with a higher use of community support services and a higher rate of nursing home placement Persons with hearing loss were more likely to also have visual impairment. This study has demonstrated important epidemiologic findings about age-related hearing loss that support and extend recent U.S. findings. Follow-up of this cohort is soon to commence and will assess the 5-year incidence and progression of hearing loss in this community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe 2002 Libby Harricks Memorial Oration
    EditorsPaul Mitchell
    Place of PublicationBraddon, ACT
    PublisherDeafness Forum Limited
    Pages6-31
    Number of pages26
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    EventXXVIth International Congress of Audiology - Melbourne
    Duration: 17 Mar 200222 Mar 2002

    Conference

    ConferenceXXVIth International Congress of Audiology
    CityMelbourne
    Period17/03/0222/03/02

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