Perception of hearing loss: use of the subjective faces scale to screen hearing among the elderly

Letícia Pimenta Costa-Guarisco Daniela Dalpubel Ludimila Labanca Marcos Hortes Nisihara Chagas About the authors

Abstract

Presbycusis is a disorder present among the elderly. However, it is under-diagnosed, making it important to develop and enhance simple screening tools. Objective: The subjective faces scale has been proposed as a method to assess auditory self-perception among the elderly, and its correlation with audiological tests. Methods: We looked at elderly patients referred to the audiology service of a reference center for the care of the elderly in a public university hospital between February and November 2013. Patients were submitted to meatoscopy, tonal and vocal audiometry and the whisper test. They also answered the subjective faces scale. A total of 164 elderly individuals participated, and the average age was 77. Results: We found a good correlation between the subjective faces scale and audiometry thresholds (r = 0.66). Our results show that the faces and hearing loss correlate, with face 1 corresponding to normal hearing, face 2 to mild hearing loss, and face 3 to Grade I moderate hearing loss. When evaluating the psychometric qualities of the subjective faces scale, we found that faces 2 or 3 have good sensitivity and specificity, with the area under the ROC curve being 0.81. Conclusion: The subjective faces scale seems to be a good, low-cost and easy to use supplementary tool for auditory screening in geriatric services.

Key words
Presbycusis; Elderly; Hearing loss; Diagnostic

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