INTRODUCTION: Age Related Hearing Loss (ARHL) is defined as loss of hearing in elderly persons not influenced by the extraneous factors like noise trauma etc or intrinsic like CVS related diseases or endocrinal disorders like Diabetes. Also termed as Presbycusis it is defined as the loss of hearing due to age related changes taking place in the auditory system starting from the pinna to the cortical centers in the brain. It does not include any other factor contributing or initiating the pathological changes in the auditory system resulting in hearing loss. All these changes in the tissues are not pathological but truly age related. The threshold of hearing is defined as the pure tone average across the frequencies of 0.5 to 8 kHz. The severity of hearing loss is graded as profound hearing loss: more than 90dB, severe to severe loss: 71-90 dB or more; Moderate to severe hearing loss: 56-70, Moderate hearing loss: 41-55 dB HL; Mild hearing loss: 26-40 dB HL. Present study is to evaluate hearing loss in persons aged above 65 years both of those attending the Hospital for loss of hearing and those screened in a survey.
AIM: To evaluate the hearing thresholds in individuals aged above 65 years attending the Government General Hospital and among the people attending the hearing screening done in the city of Thiruvananthapuram. The study also includes the review of the literature on ARHL.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: 185 individuals aged above 65 years are evaluated for hearing thresholds with the help of pure tone audiometry and speech audiometry. Among the 185 individuals 102 are patients attending the Department of ENT for the complaints of loss of hearing. The remaining 83 individuals are from the survey conducted to screen for hearing loss in the city of Thiruvananthapuram for the population aged above 65 years. Demographic data about the 185 individuals is collected. Pure tone audiogram and speech audiometry is done in all the patients.
CONCLUSIONS: PTA and SRT values are similar in both the groups. Early old age groups presented with mild to severe types of deafness and loss in lower frequencies. Late old aged people showed profound hearing loss and increased thresholds in higher frequencies. SRT estimation seemed more sensitive than calculating PTA in the persons above 85 years. Females showed 5 to 10 dB lower PTA values than males in all ages.
KEY WORDS: ARHL, audiometry, speech audiometry, loss of hearing, profound hearing loss, PTA, phonetically balanced words, Presbycusis, pure tone and frequencies.