Hearing Loss among Elderly Patients in an Ear Clinic in Nigeria

Adedayo O. Olaosun, Olawale Ogundiran, James E. Tobih


Background - Hearing Loss is a very common disabling condition among the elderly. It is estimated that above the age of 60, one in four people have some degree of hearing loss and over the age of 70, to one in two. Approximately one-third of persons above 65 years have disabling hearing loss. This study was to investigate the pattern of hearing among the elderly patients in an ear clinic in Nigeria.

Methods - Eighty-eight elderly patients were studied ex-post facto. These were the patients aged over 65 among 586 patients who had presented for hearing loss and had been sent for Pure Tone Audiometry over a period of three years.

Results - The eighty eight patients studied comprised 15% of the 586 patients who had been seen for Pure Tone Audiometry. Mean age was 72.4 years (SD= 6.58). The Male: Female ratio was 1.9:1. There was normal hearing in 18%. More than eight out of ten (82%) had hearing loss. Among those with hearing loss, more than eight out of ten (82%) had disabling hearing loss. Although a mixed hearing loss pattern predominated, there where almost as many with only sensorineural hearing loss. Thus more than seven out of ten had some sensorineural hearing loss. And although the majority of those with hearing loss had the classical sloping presbyacisis pattern, other patterns were also found.

Conclusion - Disabling hearing loss is very common among the elderly. It is usually due to presbyacusis but can also be from other causes. Since there is a risk of subsequent psychological problems and social isolation, all caregivers of elderly people should be aware of this and provide care or guidance appropriately. In addition, strategic initiatives directed to the elderly, the general public, health workers, professionals working with the elderly, ear and hearing specialists, government entities and Non Governmental Organizations are needed to address the issue.

Keywords: Hearing Loss, Elderly, Rehabilitation, Nigeria

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ISSN (Paper)2224-7181 ISSN (Online)2225-062X

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