IM this article to a friend!

April 17, 2003

Deaf to the need for hearing tests

From: Toronto Star, Canada - Apr 17, 2003

Hearing loss in the elderly is easily treated but often underdiagnosed by doctors who in some cases wrongly consider it an inevitable part of aging, reports the Journal Of The American Medical Assocation.

The most common cause of deafness in older adults is nerve damage, which is not reversible but can be substantially improved with hearing aids and sometimes surgery for severe cases. But reversible hearing loss also occurs in older adults, caused by common conditions including infections that can be treated.

The study shows that hearing loss affects up to 40 per cent of adults aged 65 and older. It's strongly linked to depression and decreased quality of life, but researchers say fewer than 10 per cent of family doctors offer routine testing to older patients.

Copyright 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved.