Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
BERIA, Jorge Umberto et al. Hearing impairment and socioeconomic factors: a population-based survey of an urban locality in southern Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.6, pp. 381-387. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892007000500006.
OBJECTIVE: To provide the first population-based data on deafness and hearing impairment in Brazil. METHODS: In 2003, a cross-sectional household survey was conducted of 2 427 persons 4 years old and over. The study population was composed of 1 040 systematically chosen households in 40 randomly selected census tracts (dwelling clusters) in the city of Canoas, which is in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil. Hearing function was evaluated in all subjects by both pure-tone audiometry and physical examination, using the World Health Organization Ear and Hearing Disorders Survey Protocol and definitions of hearing levels. The socioeconomic data that were gathered included the amount of schooling of all individuals tested and the income of the head of the household. RESULTS: It was found that 26.1% of the population studied showed some level of hearing impairment, and 6.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 5.5%-8.1%) were classified in the disabling hearing impairment group. The prevalence of moderate hearing loss was 5.4% (95% CI = 4.4%-6.4%); for severe hearing loss, 1.2% (95% CI = 0.7%-1.7%); and for profound hearing loss, 0.2% (95% CI = 0.03%-0.33%). The groups at higher risk for hearing loss were men (odds ratio (OR) = 1.54; 95% CI = 1.06-2.23); participants 60 years of age and over (OR = 12.55; 95% CI = 8.38-18.79); those with fewer years of formal schooling (OR = 3.92; 95% CI = 2.14-7.16); and those with lower income (OR = 1.56; 95% CI = 1.06-2.27). CONCLUSIONS: These results support advocacy by health policy planners and care providers for the prevention of deafness and hearing impairment. The findings could help build awareness in the community, in universities, and in government agencies of the health care needs that hearing problems create.
Keywords : Deafness; hearing loss; Brazil.