Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Black and White Elders: Results of the Cardiovascular Health Study

Pratt, Sheila R.; Kuller, Lewis; Talbott, Evelyn O.; McHugh-Pemu, Kathleen; Buhari, Alhaji M.; Xiaohui Xu
August 2009
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2009, Vol. 52 Issue 4, p973
Academic Journal
Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine the impact of age, gender, and race on the prevalence and severity of hearing loss in elder adults, aged 72-96 years, after accounting for income, education, smoking, and clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease. Methods: Air-conduction thresholds for standard and extended high-frequency pure-tones were obtained from a cohort of 548 (out of 717) elderly adults (ages 72-96 years) who were recruited during the Year 11 clinical visit (1999-2000) of the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania site. Participant smoking, income, education, and cardiovascular disease histories were obtained from the CHS database and were included as factors. Results: Hearing loss was more common and more severe for the participants in their 80s than for those in their 70s--the men more than the women and the White participants more than the Black participants. The inclusion of education, income, smoking, and cardiovascular disease (clinical and subclinical) histories as factors did not substantively impact the overall results. Conclusion: Although the data reported in this article were cross-sectional and a cohort phenomenon might have been operational, they suggested that hearing loss is more substantive in the 8th than the 7th decade of life and that race and gender influence this decline in audition. Given the high prevalence in the aging population and the differences across groups, there is a clear need to understand the nature and causes of hearing loss across various groups in order to improve prevention and develop appropriate interventions.


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