International Journal of Audiology vol:48 issue:4 pages:222-232
The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of specific audiogram configurations in a healthy, otologically screened population between 55 and 65 years old. The audiograms of 1147 subjects (549 males and 598 females between 55 and 65 years old) were collected through population registries and classified according to the configuration of hearing loss. Gender and noise/solvent-exposure effects on the prevalence of the different audiogram shapes were determined statistically. In our population 'Flat' audiograms were most dominantly represented (37%) followed by 'High frequency Gently sloping' audiograms (35%) and 'High frequency Steeply sloping' audiograms (27%). 'Low frequency Ascending' audiograms, 'Mid frequency U-shape' audiograms and 'Mid frequency Reverse U-shape' audiograms were very rare (together less than 1%). The 'Flat'-configuration was significantly more common in females, whereas the 'High frequency Steeply sloping'-configuration was more common in males. Exposure to noise and/or solvents did not change this finding. In addition, females with a 'Flat' audiogram had a significantly larger amount of overall hearing loss compared to males. Furthermore, our data reveal a significant association between the prevalence of 'High frequency Steeply sloping' audiograms and the degree of noise/solvent exposure, despite a relatively high proportion of non-exposed subjects showing a 'High frequency Steeply sloping' audiogram as well.