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Hearing loss 

Hearing loss
Chapter:
Hearing loss
Author(s):

Linda Luxon

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0583
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date: 28 February 2021

The World Health Organization has estimated that 360 million people worldwide are affected by disabling hearing loss, making hearing impairment—the hidden handicap frequently overlooked by all clinicians—the most common sensory impairment. Most of those affected are in low- and middle-income countries, but 17% of the adult population in the United Kingdom are affected, with three-quarters being over 60 years of age. Causes may relate to cochlear, neurological, general medical, or iatrogenic pathology, with half of all cases being preventable by primary prevention.

Clinical examination includes visual inspection of the anatomy of the external ear and tympanic membrane, and tuning-fork tests, which may distinguish conductive from sensorineural hearing loss.

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