With the worldwide increase in numbers of individuals infected with the human-immune deficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the need for more information became essential. The devastating influences and fatal outcome of this disease is inevitable. These individuals are confronted with mortality and various disabling conditions. One of these disabling conditions is the possible development of a hearing loss. Loss of hearing sensitivity related to HIV/AIDS is only one of numerous effects the virus may have on humans and their quality of life. Therefore increased awareness of HIV/AIDS and the influences of this disease is inevitable for the modern audiologist. The precise nature and the extent of the influence that HIV/AIDS and antiretroviral therapy (ART) has on the hearing ability of a person are unknown to date. Even though a relationship between hearing loss, HIV/AIDS and the administration of relevant medication is expected, no clear explanation is available to provide the public or clinicians with the necessary information on assessments, interventions and aural rehabilitation techniques. Without being able to identify the specific cause, symptoms and place of lesion of the hearing loss, it will be difficult to ensure appropriate monitoring and treatment. Information regarding the influences of HIV/AIDS and ART on hearing sensitivity had to be established to ensure appropriate intervention and rehabilitation options. The first part of this research project reviews the evidence available regarding the possible influences of HIV/AIDS on hearing. Throughout the research a cross-sectional design with quantitative and qualitative approaches were followed comprising of a structured interview, basic and specialized audiometric battery to obtain the necessary case history, as well as results for these different audiological tests that were conducted. The specialised tests included immittance measurements, distortion-product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) and auditory brainstem response (ABR). The results of this study were discussed in terms of the three sub aims in accordance with the different audiological tests that were conducted. The results indicated that those participants with ART exposure had a significantly higher incidence of hearing loss. The pure tone averages were mainly found within normal limits but decreased with the progression of the final stages of HIV/AIDS. The high and low frequencies of the audiogram were often affected with loss of hearing sensitivity suggesting the presence of a high and low frequency slope. The final three stages of HIV/AIDS had a significantly higher incidence of bilateral hearing loss. ART exposure were associated with more severe degrees of hearing loss. The DPOAE and ABR indicated that cochlear and retro-cochlear damage existed often among these participants. Only 20% participants had abnormal tympanograms suggestive of conductive pathology. The results revealed that the type of pathology varied across the stages of HIV/AIDS. The conclusions and implications of this study are discussed. Recommendations incorporate the development of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns that includes audiological information on the possible influences, where to refer or where to seek assistance; issues regarding the improvement of the modern audiologists’ knowledge in terms of the management of the audiological needs of individuals with HIV/AIDS and the application of these results in the industrial setting to utilize when they consider granting compensation claims.
Dissertation (MCommunication Pathology)--University of Pretoria, 2008.