Age- And Gender-Related mean hearing threshold in a Highly-Screened population: The Korean national health and nutrition examination survey 2010-2012

Yun Hwi Park, Seung Ho Shin, Sung Wan Byun, Ju Yeon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background In evaluating hearing disability in medicolegal work, the apportionment of age- And genderrelated sensorineural hearing loss should be considered as a prior factor, especially for the elderly. However, in the literature written in the English language no studies have reported on the age- And gender-related mean hearing threshold for the South Korean population. Objective This study aimed to identify the mean hearing thresholds in the South Korean population to establish reference data and to identify the age- And gender-related characteristics. Methods This study is based on the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2010-2012, which was conducted by the Korean government, the data of which was disclosed to the public. A total of 15,606 participants (unweighted) representing 33,011,778 Koreans (weighted) with normal tympanic membrane and no history of regular or occupational noise exposure were selected and analyzed in this study. The relationship between the hearing threshold level and frequency, age, and gender was investigated and analyzed in a highly-screened population by considering the sample weights of a complex survey design. Results A gender ratio difference was found between the unweighted and the weighted designs: male:female, 41.0%: 59.0%(unweighted, participants) vs. 47.2%:52.8% (weighted, representing population). As age increased, the hearing threshold increased for all frequencies. Hearing thresholds of 3 kHz, 4 kHz, and 6 kHz showed a statistical difference between both genders for people older than 30, with the 4 kHz frequency showing the largest difference. This paper presents details about the mean hearing threshold based on age and gender. Conclusions The data from KNHANES 2010-2012 showed gender differences at hearing thresholds of 3 kHz, 4 kHz, and 6 kHz in a highly-screened population. The most significant gender difference in relation to hearing threshold was observed at 4 kHz. The hearing thresholds at all of the tested frequencies worsened with increasing age. The mean hearing thresholds suggested in this study will be useful for the formulation of healthcare-related hearing policies and used as reference data for disability ratings for hearing loss due to various causes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150783
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright: 2016 Park et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Dive into the research topics of 'Age- And Gender-Related mean hearing threshold in a Highly-Screened population: The Korean national health and nutrition examination survey 2010-2012'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this