Loss of Hearing Tied to Higher Risk of Death
Losing your hearing may not simply be a sign of aging.
According to a new study published in JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, it may increase a person's risk of death.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University used data from the 2005-06 and 2009-10 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and they focused on a population of 1,666 adults who had undergone audiometric testing and were 70 years or older. To determine mortality, the team matched this data and death certificates from the National Death Index through to the end of December 2011.
The results showed that participants with moderate or more severe hearing impairment (HI) had a 54 percent increased risk of death, while those with mild HI had a 27 percent increased risk of death, compared with those without hearing loss. They also found that people with HI were more likely to be male, white, less educated, older and have a history of stroke and heart disease.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), hearing loss can make it more difficult for a person to respond to warnings, hear doorbells and smoke alarms.
The occurrence of hearing impairment doubles with every decade of life and affects two thirds of adults older than 70.