Self-Perceived Hearing Loss, Hearing-Help Seeking and Hearing Aid Adoption Among Older Adults in Malaysia

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Introduction:The aims of this study were to examine the validity of self-perceived hearing loss in detecting hearing loss and factors associated with self-perceived hearing loss and hearing-help seeking and to report hearing aid adoption among a group of community-dwelling older adults in Malaysia.Methods:A total of 301 older adults (≥60 years of age) participating in a study on aging had their hearing tested using pure-tone audiometry. Self-perceived hearing loss was assessed using a single question. Sociodemographic profile, otologic history, and general cognitive status were also obtained.Results:A single question had low sensitivity in detecting actual hearing loss: 31.3% for 4-frequency average > 25 dBHL and 48.8% for 4-frequency average > 40 dBHL. Besides hearing level, history of otorrhea and tinnitus were factors that were associated with self-perceived hearing loss among older adults with at least mild hearing loss. Hearing-help-seeking behavior was not associated with any of the tested variables. The hearing aid adoption rate was 2.7% and 7.3% among participants with 4-frequency averages > 25 dBHL and > 40 dBHL, respectively.Conclusion:The underestimation of hearing loss in the majority of older adults in this study poses a potential barrier to hearing loss intervention.

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