Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent in the US have the highest rate of hearing loss, while Mexican-Americans have the lowest, a study shows.
In the largest study to date of hearing loss among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, researchers have found that nearly 1 in 7 has hearing loss.
More hearing loss among Puerto Ricans
The results showed that overall, 15.1% of Hispanic/Latino individuals had hearing loss in one ear, and roughly half of these, 8.2%, had hearing loss in both ears. Among different subgroups, prevalence of hearing loss was highest among people with a Puerto Rican background—more than 21% had hearing loss in one ear and more than 12% in both ears. The lowest rate of hearing loss was seen among Mexican-Americans, where about 11% had hearing loss in one ear and 6% in both ears.
The study comprised 16,415 Hispanic/Latino individuals, ages 18 to 74, in New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego. The participants represent a wide range of backgrounds, including Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican and South American.
Other findings of the study echoed what has been observed in research in the general US population.
Age and Gender
The 45-64 age group were five times more likely to have hearing loss than the 18 to 44-year-olds. The effect was even more pronounced for those aged 65-74 years, who were 18.5 times more likely to have hearing loss than the younger adults in the 18-44 group.
Men were 66% more likely than women to have hearing loss.
People exposed to loud noises were roughly 30% more likely to have hearing loss.
Education and Income
People who had completed a high school level education were 30% less likely to have hearing loss compared to those who had not and people earning more than $75,000 were 42% less likely to be affected by hearing loss than people who earned less than $10,000.
People with diabetes and pre-diabetes had increased odds of hearing loss—57 and 37%, respectively.
The number of Hispanics/Latinos with hearing loss is similar to the general population prevalence. Approximately 15% of American adults aged 18 and older report some hearing loss, according to studies that have looked at the general population in the US.
About the study
The research team was led by Karen Cruickshanks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the US.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was published by JAMA Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery.
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