Self reported hearing loss among elderly Malaysians

  • Rosdina AK
  • Leelavathi M
  • Zaitun A
  • VKM Lee
  • Azimah MN
  • Majmin SH
  • Mohd KA
Keywords: Elderly, hearing impairment, hearing loss, Malaysia


A cross-sectional study was conducted on patients attending a primary care facility to determine the prevalence of self reported hearing loss using a single question, “Do you have hearing loss?” Pure tone audiometry was performed to compare the accuracy of the self report. A total of 111 patients were recruited. The prevalence of self reported hearing loss using a single question and pure tone audiometry was 24.3% and 36.9% respectively. By using pure tone audiometry at a cut-offlevel of 25 dBHL (decibels Hearing level), the single question yielded a sensitivity of 41.4% and specificity of 85.0%.The single question performed better at 40 dBHL pure tone audiometry with sensitivity of 55.0% and specificity of 82.0%. In conclusion, the prevalence of hearing loss in elderly was high and the single question self reported hearing loss performed satisfactorily with moderate hearing loss.


Demographic Data Manual. Kuala Lumpur, Department of Statistics; 2001.

Arokiasamy JT. Demography and epidemiology aspect of ageing in the developing world: Focus on Malaysia. National Conference on the Care of the Aged Population, 21-22 Aug 1999, Sheraton Subang Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Noorhassim I, Rampal KG. Multiplicative effect of smoking and age on hearing impairment. Am J Otolaryngol. 1998;19(4):240-3.

Shahar S, Earland J, Abd Rahman S. Social and health profiles of rural elderly Malays. Singapore Med J. 2001;42(5):208-13.

Tambs K. Moderate effect of hearing loss on mental health and subjective well-being: Result from the Norld-Trondelag Hearing Loss Study. Psychosom Med. 2004;66(5):776-82.

Kurtz JW, Mullin G, Campbell KCM. Audiometry, pure tone testing. E-medicine Audiology; 2006.

World Health Organization fact sheet: Deafness and hearing impairment. In: W.H. Organization, Editor, World Health Fact Sheet (#300 ed.), World Health Organization, Geneva (2006).

Wu HY, Chin JJ, Thong HM. Screening for hearing impairment in cohort of elderly patients attending a hospital geriatric medicine service. Singapore Med J. 2004;45(2):79-84.

Sindhusake D, Mitchelle P, Smith W, et al. Validation of selfreported hearing loss. The Blue Mountain Hearing Study. Int J Epidemiol. 2001;30(6):1371-8.

Bunnag C, Prasansuk S, Nakorn AN, et al. Ear diseases and hearing in the Thai elderly population. Part I. A comparative study of the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment by general practitioners vs ENT specialists. J Med Assoc Thai.2002;85(5):521-31.

Kua EH, Ko SM. A questionnaire to screen for cognitive impairment among elderly people in developing countries. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1992;85(2):119-22.

Gates GA, Murphy M, Rees TS, et al. Screening for handicapping hearing loss in the elderly. J Fam Pract. 2003;52(1):56-62.

Noorhassim I, Rampal KG. Prevalence of hearing loss and hearing impairment among rural males in Selangor, 1993. Med J Malaysia.1994;49(1):78-85.

Jupiter T, Palagonia CL. The Hearing Handicap Inventory for the elderly screening version adapted for use with elderly Chinese American individuals. Am J Audiol. 2001;10(2):99-103.

Sangster JF, Gerace TM, Seewald RC. Hearing loss in elderly in a family practice. CMAJ. 1991;144(8):981-4.

Walsh RM, Bath AP, Bance ML, et al. Consequences to hearing during the conservative management of vestibular schwannomas. Laryngoscope. 2000;110(2 Pt 1):250-5.

How to Cite
AKR., ML., AZ., LeeV., MNA., SHM., & KAM. (2012). Self reported hearing loss among elderly Malaysians. Malaysian Family Physician, 5(2), 4. Retrieved from
Original Articles