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Subjective and Clinically Assessed Hearing Loss; A Cross-Sectional Register-Based Study on a Swedish Population Aged 18 through 50 Years
Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Uppsala University, Sweden.
Karolinska Institute, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Cell Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives Questionnaire studies suggest that hearing is declining among young adults. However, few studies have examined the reliability of hearing questionnaires among young adult subjects. This study examined the associations between pure tone audiometrically assessed (PTA) hearing loss and questionnaire responses in young to middle aged adults. Materials and Methods A cross-sectional study using questionnaire and screening PTA (500 through 6000 Hz) data from 15322 Swedish subjects (62% women) aged 18 through 50 years. PTA hearing loss was defined as a hearing threshold above 20 dB in both ears at one or more frequencies. Data were analysed with chi-square tests, nonlinear regression, binary logistic regression, and the generalized estimating equation (GEE) approach. Results The prevalence of PTA hearing loss was 6.0% in men and 2.9% in women (p less than 0.001). Slight hearing impairment was reported by 18.5% of the men and 14.8% of the women (p less than 0.001), whereas 0.5% of men and women reported very impaired hearing. Using multivariate GEE modelling, the odds ratio of PTA hearing loss was 30.4 (95% CI, 12.7-72.9) in men and 36.5 (17.2-77.3) in women reporting very impaired hearing. The corresponding figures in those reporting slightly impaired hearing were 7.06 (5.25-9.49) in men and 8.99 (6.38-12.7) in women. These values depended on the sound stimulus frequency (p = 0.001). The area under the ROC curve was 0.904 (0.892-0.915) in men and 0.886 (0.872-0.900) in women. Conclusions Subjective hearing impairment predicted clinically assessed hearing loss, suggesting that there is cause for concern as regards the future development of hearing in young to middle-aged people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2015. Vol. 10, no 4
National Category
Clinical Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118055DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123290ISI: 000352845100160PubMedID: 25875116OAI: diva2:812906

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare [2006-1526]

Available from: 2015-05-20 Created: 2015-05-20 Last updated: 2015-05-26

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