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Publishes the largest-scale elderly hearing screening report in Taiwan

Publishes the largest-scale elderly hearing screening report in Taiwan

Publishes the largest-scale elderly hearing screening report in Taiwan
2019/08/02

PSA Charitable Foundation publishes the largest-scale elderly hearing screening report in Taiwan.

The prevalence of elderly disabling hearing loss in Taiwan is higher than reported by WHO: 4 in 10 persons

It is estimated that about 1.37 million elders suffer from hearing loss

The Foundation urges the hearing test to be included in the elderly physical exam to prevent premature senile dementia

Hearing, Sublimation of Love: one hundred sessions of hearing screening taking place all over Taiwan

 

(Taipei) PSA Charitable Foundation published the largest-scale elderly hearing screening report on August 2nd. The results showed that the prevalence of elderly disabling hearing loss of people over 65 years old has reached 40%, which means 4 in 10 people suffer from hearing loss in Taiwan. It is estimated the elderly disabling hearing loss population is about 1.37 million in Taiwan, which is higher than the 33% reported by WHO. The follow-up rate of people with hearing loss who have no medical intervention resources is only 3%, which indicated a less than active treatment attitude. Taiwan is already an aging society, and the studies showed that hearing loss is closely related to senile dementia and falling. Dr. Chen Kuang Chao, Director of Cochlear Implant Center of Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, pointed out that the condition could be prevented through hearing devices and operation. PSA Charitable Foundation urges the government to include hearing screening in the elderly physical examination to raise the awareness and hospital visit rate. The Foundation will continue with the hundred sessions of community hearing screening service, health seminars, and volunteer recruits to encourage the general public to care about their hearing health.

 

Taiwan has 1.37 million elderly disabling hearing loss population. The prevalence is higher than that of WHO reported.

PSA Charitable Foundation has published a hearing screening report of 9,055 participants from 2016 to 2019. The report showed that the prevalence of elderly disabling hearing loss of people over 65 years old has reached 40% (footnote 1), and for people over 75 years old the number is close to one in every two. It is estimated that the population of elderly disabling hearing loss is about 1.37 million in Taiwan (footnote 2). In addition, this report inferred that the number of people who are eligible to apply for the hearing impairment certification is around 443,000 (footnote 3), which is much higher than the 85,000 certifications already issued by Ministry of Health and Welfare to the elders over 65 years old. The gap indicates that the problem of elderly hearing impairment needs to be taken more seriously.

 

High prevalence, low action rate: hearing test should be included in the free physical exam.

PSA Charitable Foundation conducted a follow-up concerning the hospital visit rate after hearing screening, and found that the referral rate of community locations is less than 3%. In comparison to the 20% referral rate of hospital-conducted hearing screening of elderly physical exam and 70% that of the community locations collaborating with medical facilities, people are less willing to take the initiative to seek medical attention without the medical resources intervention. CEO of PSA Charitable Foundation, Lin Long Sen stated “Taiwan is already an aging society. Hearing loss could cause anxiety, withdrawal, decrease of social activities, and even dementia, and turn the middle-aged and elderly patients into the highly dependent population in the society. It is recommended to include hearing screening into free physical exam, elderly physical exam, and integrated screening item. Early interventional treatment is able to reduce medical healthcare and social costs caused by hearing loss.”

Hearing loss could lead to senile dementia?! Regular hearing test and active treatment are effective in preventing premature senile dementia.

This elderly hearing screening report also analyzed the effect of gender, geographical locations, and age. The findings showed that the ratio of male with disabling hearing loss is slightly higher than that of female (38.4%: 33.2%); prevalence of disabling hearing loss in eastern Taiwan is slightly higher than other areas; prevalence of the elders over 65 years old is about 40%, that of elders over 75 years old is 47.9%. and two out three elders over 85 years old suffer from hearing problems (71.4%).

Degenerative hearing loss becomes a prominent issue around the age of 50. Along with aging, central auditory system of the brain degenerated and received less stimulation. Other factors such as noise, disease infection, drugs also accelerate degeneration of auditory organs. As a result, hearing loss could easily affect the willingness of participation in social activities, communication, and cognitive function, and thus increase the risk of dementia. Middle-aged persons and elders and their families should pay extra attention to the hearing health. Seek medical attention immediately if you have the following signs: hearing buzzing sounds in the ears, turning up the TV volume louder than usual, constantly asking people to repeat the questions, or having continual tinnitus combined with dizziness.

 

Chen Kuang Chao, Director of Cochlear Implant Center of Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, explained, “elderly disabling hearing loss will accelerate the deterioration of cognitive function by 30-40% compared with people with normal hearing. It has direct correlation with senile dementia and also closely related to falling and social withdrawal. Therefore, people over 50 years old should have annually hearing screening and follow up the conditions regularly. Seek medical attention actively if the hearing worsened or have sudden sensorineural hearing loss.” Director Chen pointed out that wearing hearing aid is effective in improving the conditions but severe patients would need to have cochlear implant. Early detection and wearing hearing devices in the timely manner are the effective ways to prevent senile dementia and to enjoy life without hindrance in communication.

 

Mr. Huang, a participant at the event, had not been able to hear clearly at the early stage of hearing loss and often had to ask people to repeat their questions. He also had had the experience of talking at cross-purposes with taxi drivers, but considered the conditions to be part of aging and had never sought medical attention. Until one day he went to a gathering and witnessed how convenient it was for his old friend to wear hearing aids. Mr. Huang had a hearing screening then and started to wear hearing aids. It not only helped him to communicate better, but also allowed him to regain the joy of listening to classical music with his wife. Mr. Huang stated that hearing correction should be considered the same as vision correction and included into elderly physical exam. Hearing screening should be normalized and popularized in order to benefit more middle-aged persons and elders. It will facilitate interpersonal relationship and social interaction, and improve the quality of life.

 

Initiate a hundred sessions of Elderly Hearing Care Service of Hearing, Sublimation of Love

CEO of PSA Charitable Foundation, Lin Long Sen, stated, “since the establishment at 2002, PSA Charitable Foundation has been providing hearing care, volunteer participation, and respite care service. The Foundation has donated over NT$70 million worth of hearing devices and equipment, cared for over a thousand hearing-impaired children, recruited more than 2,000 person-times of volunteers, and concerned about the hearing health for more than ten thousands elders in total. The Foundation is the one that most dedicated to the hearing care at community locations in Taiwan.”

In order to increase the hearing care knowledge of the general public, PSA Charitable Foundation has collaborated with the ten speech-language related non-profit organizations, hospitals, research centers, and hearing device suppliers for the first time to establish the Aural Health and Rehabilitation Center at the Assistive Technology for Life 2019 this July. 8,000 people have participated in the hearing games and free consultation. The most common questions asked by the general public at the event were about wearing hearing aids once diagnosed hearing loss, which once again demonstrated the importance of hearing care education.

Therefore, the Foundation will initiate Hearing, Sublimation of Love: Elderly Hearing Care Service at Community Locations at the second half of this year. A hundred sessions are planned to provide service for more that 3,000 elders in Taiwan within a year. The Foundation welcomes nursing aides, retirees, and anyone who are dedicated in elderly hearing care to volunteer at the events or become guest lecturers after training. Official website of the Foundation: http://www.psa.org.tw.

 

  1. Definition of adult disabling hearing loss: the average hearing threshold of the better ear is over 40dBHL. Standard for hearing impairment certification: binaural capability >50% (the average hearing threshold of both ears is over 58dBHL).
  2. According to the statistics of Ministry of Interior in December, 2018, the population of elders over 65 in Taiwan is about 3.43 millions ( 40.5% x 3.43m).
  3. According to the statistics of Ministry of Health and Welfare, there are about 85,000 hearing-impaired people among the elders over 65 years old in Taiwan. Yet according to the elderly hearing screening report published by PSA Charitable Foundation, about 12.9% of participants are eligible to apply for the hearing impairment certification. Based on the report, it is estimated that the hearing-impaired population is about 443,000 (12.9% x 3.43m).

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PSA Charitable Foundation: In hopes of giving back to the society and integrating and maximizing social resources, PSA has integrated its affiliated company, Tzi Hui Club, into a new foundation in 2002 and officially changed its name to PSA Charitable Foundation. The Foundation provides services of hearing care, volunteer participation, newspaper in education, respite care, and friendly workplace. The Foundation has donated over NT$70 millions worth of hearing devices and equipment, cared for over a thousand hearing-impaired children, recruited more than 2000 person-times of volunteers, and concerned about the hearing health for more than ten thousands elders in total. The Foundation is the one that most dedicated to the hearing care at community locations in Taiwan. It sponsors Newspaper in Education for Children for 11 years, which promotes the Chinese literature and language learning for 43,000 students in elementary and junior high schools. The Foundation also holds respite care service to assist more than a hundred caregivers through stress relief course. Please visit the official website of the Foundation for more charity information: http://www.psa.org.tw