People over 50 years of age living in Northern England have a 13.5% higher prevalence of hearing loss than people of the same age living in Southern England, according to a study from the University of Manchester in the UK.
Differences among age groups
The study found that the percentage of 71-80-year-olds living with hearing loss was 49.2% in the northeast, 43% in the northwest and 46% in Yorkshire and the Humber. That was compared to 35.7% in the southeast and 37.4% in London.
For the 61–70-year-olds, the figures were 24.6% in the northeast, 21.8% in the northwest and 22.6% in Yorkshire and the Humber. That compared to 14.6% in the southeast and 18% in London.
The figures for the 51-60-year-olds and people over 80 years of age showed little difference between the regions.
The researchers suggest that the discrepancy is linked to socioeconomic and health disparities, including lifestyle and economic factors.
The study looked at the hearing data of 8,263 participants aged 50-89 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).
The study, "Forty years on: a new national study of hearing in England and implications for global hearing health policy", was published in the International Journal of Audiology.
A previous study from 2020, "Regional patterns and trends of hearing loss in England: evidence from the English longitudinal study of ageing (ELSA) and implications for health policy", from the same university, found that hearing loss was highest in the most deprived areas and among people in manual occupations such as industry which saw them exposed to more noise.