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November 02, 2006

Pessimism could harm hearing

A negative outlook on life may contribute to hearing decline.

People who accept hearing loss as just another sign of growing old may be putting their hearing at risk.

According to a study from Yale University, people who have negative stereotypes about age and the elderly – for example that old age means senility or being feeble – often neglect the signs of deteriorating health. As a result, these seniors are less likely to seek medical attention to correct the problem and may be missing out on some of the joys of their “golden years”.

The study, which was the first of its kind, demonstrated that in addition to a wide array of biological factors, social psychological factors like culturally influenced age stereotypes also influence hearing.

The study included 546 people aged 70 and older. The participants were interviewed about their attitudes towards the elderly and had their hearing assessed at the beginning of the study and again three years later.


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