Presbycusis, a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss caused by changes in the inner ear, is related to multiple factors such as noise exposure and otologic disease. In institute-based studies, we tried to determine the incidence of presbycusis in Korean populations living in Seoul, Kyunggi and Kangwon provinces by gender and age groups. The subjects were people who had visited health promotion centers. Pure tone audiometry was done over 20 years on 6,028 subjects. In a community-based study, the subjects were elderly residents of Kanghwa-do area. There were no obvious factors that could cause hearing impairment in the subjects. For the pure tone audiometry, hearing threshold was obtained by using the six-dimension method. The incidence of presbycusis for subjects aged 65 years and older was 37.8% and 8.3% for ≥27 dB HL criterion and ≥41 dB HL criterion, respectively. The incidence increased with age. A statistically significant difference in the hearing threshold was found between men and women aged 65 years or older. No differences were found between the community-based study and the institute- based studies. There was a high incidence (about 40%) of presbycusis among Koreans aged 65 years or older (for ≤27 dB HL criterion). With an aging population, we anticipate that this report could be used to provide a basic data for the study of presbycusis.
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