Testing Hearing Loss It seems that cases of hearing loss are on a rise among middle-aged adults. A latest study undertaken by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health suggests that a noisy job and presence of certain cardiovascular disease risk factors elevate the chances of hearing loss in middle-aged adults. It is estimated that one of seven middle aged adults with an average age of 49 years have impaired hearing.

The study followed 3,285 participants ranging in an age group of 21 to 84 years for analyzing the prevalence of hearing impairment. Word recognition was measured at different sound levels with male and female voices. Participants also provided information about medical history, behaviors and environmental factors. The prevalence of hearing impairment appeared 14.1 percent and the average word recognition in quiet was 89.6 percent. However, 63.5 percent were probably involved in competing message or noisy environments.

Incidences of hearing impairment were apparently higher in men and those with lower education levels, working in noisy occupations or with a history of ear surgery. Cardiovascular markers were seemingly linked with hearing problems, including statin use, a lower hemocrit percentage and thicker artery walls. Hearing impairment if detected early can probably be a preventable chronic disease. Scott D. Nash, a researcher with the Department of Population Health Sciences at the School of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues presume that the severity of this condition is related to a poorer quality of life, communication difficulties, impaired activities of daily living, dementia, and cognitive dysfunction.

The study was published online in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and will appear in the May print issue of the journal.