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Hearing acuity in nonagenarians aged 90 and 95 assessed in a home setting using standardized pure-tone audiometry.

OBJECTIVE: Knowledge regarding hearing acuity in the nonagenarian age group is sparse. In this study we aimed to advance our understanding of hearing loss in the 10th decade of life.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study in which standardised hearing measurements were performed during home visits, which included care home facilities and nursing homes to maximise participation.

STUDY SAMPLE: Two unselected groups of individuals aged 90 ( n  = 42) and 95 ( n  = 49), sampled from the population-based Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Studies.

RESULTS: 98% of the participants (95% CI [95, 100]) had some degree of hearing loss in their better ear, with 83% (95% CI [73, 89]) having a potentially disabling hearing loss of moderate degree or worse, according to WHO criteria. Furthermore, differences between the two age groups (five years apart) indicate an increasing hearing loss, primarily at frequencies ≥ 2 kHz.

CONCLUSION: Hearing loss was present in almost all of the participants in the nonagenarian age group and among a majority of them potentially to a degree that would warrant rehabilitation. Carrying out standardised hearing measurements in a home setting was feasible in this age group and enhanced the representativeness of the study population.

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