Auditory function in a group of adults infected with HIV/AIDS in Gauteng, South Africa

Katijah Khoza, Eleanor Ross
South African Journal of Communication Disorders. die Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif Vir Kommunikasieafwykings 2002, 49: 17-27
Numerous international studies have demonstrated a relationship between HIV/AIDS and auditory function. The aim of this study was to explore this relationship in a group of adults infected with HIV/AIDS attending an outpatient clinic in a hospital located in Gauteng, South Africa. The prevalence of hearing loss; the type, degree and configuration of the hearing loss; the relationship between the hearing symptoms and the progressive stages of the disease, and the type of onset of hearing problems were examined. The results of the study indicated a prevalence rate of hearing loss which was as high as 23% in the sample surveyed. The types of hearing loss included conductive and sensorineural, while the degree of severity ranged from slight to profound in nature. The configuration of the hearing loss was not frequency-range-specific, and the degree of severity did not seem to worsen with the progression of the HIV/AIDS disease. However, there did seem to be an increase in the occurrence of sensorineural hearing loss with the deterioration of patients' immunological status. Analysis of patients' audiological results along with their case history data suggested that their hearing loss may have been caused by opportunistic infections and/or their treatments. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the clinical management of patients with HIV/AIDS; education of team members; and policy formulation.

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