Hearing impairment in rural area of Himalaya: prevalence and etiology


  • Trilok C. Guleria Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • Shobha Mohindroo Department of Pathology, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • Ramesh K. Azad Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
  • Narender K. Mohindroo Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India




Hearing loss, Prevalence, Rural, Presbyacusis, Sensorineural


Background: Hearing impairment is most frequent sensory deficit in human population. The disease burden estimations based on sound epidemiological research provide the foundation for appropriate public policy focus and measures for effective management of disease conditions. Data regarding the magnitude of hearing impairment in our country is limited and the literature search revealed that no such studies have been conducted in this region.

Methods: A community based cross sectional observational study was carried out among the 306 individuals in rural area of Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh. Information was obtained by a structured questionnaire, clinical ENT examination and audiological tests after obtaining informed consent.  

Results: The study group had 52.6% males and 47.4% females. Maximum 26.5% of individuals were in the age group of 31-45 years. Mean age was 36.56±18.83. The prevalence of hearing impairment was 16.7%. Among individuals with hearing loss, maximum 52.9% were in the age group of ≥60 years. Sensorineural hearing loss was found in 68.6%, maximum 56.9% had mild hearing loss. Among majority of individuals with hearing loss cause was presbyacusis 52.9% followed by infectious ear disease 33.3%.

Conclusions: In the present study, prevalence of hearing loss was found to be 16.7% and predominantly mild sensorineural or conductive type of hearing loss. An early intervention and quality patient education is necessary for prevention of hearing impairment in majority of cases.


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