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Characteristics of hearing loss in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Zephania Saitabau Abraham
Aveline Aloyce Kahinga


Introduction: Hearing loss is a major public health problem in developed and developing countries. The objective of this study was to determine the causes and patterns of hearing loss at a private hospital that serves the largest number of patients with ear, nose and throat diseases in Tanzania’s largest city.

Method: This was a hospital based descriptive cross-sectional study that was conducted at a private hospital in Dar es Salaam. Data were collected from January to June 2021 and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. P-value<0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

Results: Of the 250 patients recruited with hearing loss, there were 115 (46%) males and 135 (54%) females (F:M ratio of 1.2:1). The commonest cause of hearing loss was presbyacusis 132 (52.8%) followed by ototoxicity 26 (10.4%) and chronic suppurative otitis media 26(10.4%). Based on laterality, 73.2% of the patients had unilateral hearing loss whereas 26.8% had bilateral hearing loss. Regarding the type of hearing loss, 85.6% of the patients had sensorineural hearing loss followed by conductive type (13.2%) and mixed hearing loss (1.2%). Based on severity, 40.8% of the patients had moderate hearing loss followed by both moderately severe and severe hearing loss each accounting for 18% of cases.

Conclusion: Sensorineural hearing loss was the commonest type of hearing loss in this study. Both unilateral hearing loss according to laterality and moderate hearing loss upon classifying by severity predominated. Age‑related hearing loss was the most common cause of hearing loss followed by ototoxicity and chronic suppurative otitis media.