08 April 2020

More memory loss and increased psychological distress if you have a hearing loss

Hearing loss affects memory, limits outdoor activities and increase psychological distress, a study finds.

Older people who report hearing loss are more likely to experience outdoor activity limitations, experience psychological distress and are more likely to have memory loss than those without hearing loss, a Japanese study finds.

Study findings

People with hearing loss showed a higher prevalence of outdoor activity limitations. 28.9% of those who reported hearing loss experienced limitations compared to 9.5% of those without hearing loss. 39.7% of those with hearing loss said that they experienced psychological distress compared to 19.3% of those without hearing loss. Memory loss was reported by 37.7% of those with hearing loss but only by 5.2% of those without hearing loss.

The adjusted odds ratios comparing people with and without hearing loss were 2.0, 2.1 and 7.1 for outdoor activity limitations, psychological distress and self-reported memory loss, the study found.

About the study

The study included 137,723 people aged 65 years or older living at home, without a clinical diagnosis of dementia. 12,389 of the participants (9%) reported hearing loss. The aim of the study was to investigate the associations between self-reported hearing loss and outdoor activity limitations, psychological distress and self-reported memory loss among older people.

The study, “Associations between self-reported hearing loss and outdoor activity limitations, psychological distress and self-reported memory loss among older people: Analysis of the 2016 Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions in Japan”, was published in the journal Geriatrics Gerontology International.

Sources: www.mcknights.com and Geriatrics Gerontology International

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