Lin says social isolation resulting from hearing loss may explain the physical and mental declines — as well as the cognitive deficits — that afflict older adults. This, in turn, may lead to more illness and hospitalization, he says. His team already has further research under way to see if treating hearing loss with counseling and hearing aids can reduce people’s risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Older adults with hearing loss are more likely than peers with normal hearing to require hospitalization and suffer from periods of inactivity and depression, according to results of a new study by experts at Johns Hopkins.
The Johns Hopkins team’s analysis of the health survey data from 1,140 men and women aged 70 and older with hearing loss found that those with hearing deficits were 32 percent more likely to have been admitted to a hospital than 529 older men and women with normal hearing. All study participants had volunteered to have their hearing tested over a four-year period, as part of a larger, ongoing study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES.
The latest NHANES findings, to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association online June 11, are believed to be the first to show the broader, economic and long-term effects of hearing loss…
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