Scientific publications

Early Detection of Hearing Loss among the Elderly

Apr 4, 2024 | Magazine: Life

Sol Ferrán  1 , Raquel Manrique-Huarte  1 , Janaina P Lima  1 , Carla Rodríguez-Zanetti  1 , Diego Calavia  1 , Constanza Jimena Andrade  1 , David Terrasa  1 , Alicia Huarte  1 , Manuel Manrique  1

Background: Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) is a complex communication disorder that affects the cochlea and central auditory pathway. The goal of this study is to characterize this type of hearing loss and to identify non-invasive, inexpensive, and quick tests to detect ARHL among elderly adults, seeking to preserve quality of life and reduce the burden on healthcare systems.

Methods: An observational, prospective study is conducted with >55-year-old subjects divided into the following groups: normal range (Group A), detected but not treated (Group B), and detected and treated (Group C). During follow-up, Speech Spatial Qualities (SSQ12), and Hearing Handicap Inventory in the Elderly Screening test (HHIE-S) questionnaires were assessed, along with hearing levels (hearing thresholds at 4 kHz were studied in more depth), and a series of tests and questionnaires to assess balance, cognitive level, level of dependence, and depression.

Results: A total of 710 patients were included in this study. The duration of hearing loss (11.8 yr. in Group B and 21.0 yr. in Group C) and average time-to-treatment for Group C (14.1 yr.) are both protracted. Both of the used questionnaires show statistically significant differences among the groups, revealing greater handicaps for Group C. Audiometry performed at 4 kHz shows how hearing loss progresses with age, finding differences between men and women. There is a correlation between time-to-treatment in Group C and the cognitive test DSST (-0.26; p = 0.003).

Conclusions: HHIE-S, SSQ12, and 4 kHz audiometry are sensitive and feasible tests to implement in screening programs.

CITATION  Life (Basel). 2024 Apr 4;14(4):471. doi: 10.3390/life14040471