OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to measure the changes in hearing thresholds in the same individuals during a period of 10 years and suggest a clinical reference for the threshold changes by aging.
METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we used regular health checkup data including 2 pure tone audiometry results with a 10-year interval in the same individuals from 1288 subjects. The subjects' data including demographics, smoking habits, and the diagnosis of chronic diseases were used.
RESULTS: Age, male gender, smoking, and osteoporosis were identified as factors affecting age-related hearing loss (ARHL). The sole effect of aging on ARHL for 10 years according to age groups and genders was as follows: a loss of 1.4 dB in 20s, 4.0 dB in 30s, 5.0 dB in 40s, 8.2 dB in 50s, and 11.2 dB in 60s of males compared to a loss of 2.3 dB in 20s, 2.9 dB in 30s, 5.1 dB in 40s, 6.5 dB in 50s, and 9.4 dB in 60s of females.
CONCLUSIONS: We could demonstrate the actual effect of aging on ARHL, and it can be used as a clinical reference. Hearing ability decreases more in males than females but seems to decrease exponentially with age in both males and females.
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