Incidence of hearing loss among geriatric nursing-home residents.


Of 285 residents in 4 Montana nursing homes, pure-tone ac HTLs were collected on 259 ears of 151 Ss, aged 54-95 yrs (mn: 80.6 yrs) who were able and willing to participate. Only 6% of ears were normal [PTA (.5, 1, 2 kc/s) less than 25 db], 11% had mild losses (25-45 db), 13% had moderate (45-65 db), 35% had high-frequency slope beginning at 2 kc/s, and 35% had severe or profound losses (greater than 65 db). Of 175 ears of 92 Ss completing tympanometry, 85% had normal peak-pressure points, 9% were mildly positive/negative, and 7% were abnormal. Of 116 ears from 62 Ss completing contralateral acoustic reflex study, only 58% exhibited reflexes. Of 59 ears from 34 Ss completing ipsilateral acoustic reflex study, only 39% exhibited reflexes. 48% of ears exhibited abnormal otoscopic findings. Only 17 Ss reported owning a hearing aid (though for half the Ss Medicaid allowed payment for such aids). Of 13 aids actually inspected, all were malfunctioning in correctable ways. Audiological referrals were made for 94% of the 151 Ss, and medical referrals for 58%. These data corroborate other studies on the low status of audiological services in such populations.


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