Ear diseases and hearing in the Thai elderly population. part II. A one year follow-up study

J Med Assoc Thai. 2002 May;85(5):532-9.


The ear and hearing survey of the Thai elderly in 14 urban communities around Siriraj Hospital was repeated one year after the first survey in order to detect any changes. Altogether 556 elderly people came for follow-up examination, 191 were males, 365 were females, the average age was 68.2 years (60-88 years). Ear disease was diagnosed by ENT specialists in 80 cases which implied that the prevalence of ear disease was 14.4 per cent. This was not statistically significantly different from the prevalence of ear disease in the survey conducted in the previous year and although the elderly who had ear diseases in the first survey had already been treated, the prevalence did not decrease. Some elderly people only had ear diseases in this survey. Hearing evaluation by pure tone audiometry was performed in 549 elders. There were 12.4 per cent who had bilateral, moderate to severe hearing loss which was 2.9 per cent higher than in the previous survey. The hearing level had also deteriorated in 14.3 per cent of the elderly people. Tympanometry was performed in 556 cases and showed that 10.5 per cent had a conductive hearing loss. When audiometry and tympanometry of the same elderly people were evaluated together, 49.2 per cent of them had a sensorineural hearing loss, 3 per cent had a conductive hearing loss and 6.5 per cent had a conductive or mixed type hearing loss. When the results of audiometry were compared with the self identification/perception of their hearing reported by the elderly in the questionnaires, they were not reliable. In conclusion, a one-year follow-up study of the prevalence of ear disease and hearing impairment in the elderly showed that the prevalence of ear disease was still high and had not changed significantly. Concerning hearing impairment, not only had the prevalence increased, but also the severity of hearing loss. Therefore, the authors stress the need to implement the "Ear and Hearing Care" program for the elderly both in rural and urban communities at least once a year in order to improve quality of life of the elderly Thai people and to prevent complications of ear disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Impedance Tests
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry
  • Ear Diseases / diagnosis
  • Ear Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Ear Diseases / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hearing Disorders / diagnosis
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Disorders / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Thailand / epidemiology