UBC Okanagan researchers examined the impact of undiagnosed or untreated hearing issues in seniors age 60 to 69. The study found that for every 10-decibel drop in hearing sensitivity, the odds of social isolation increased by 52%. Among the sample of seniors, a 10-decibel reduction of hearing sensitivity was also associated with cognitive declines equivalent to almost 4 years of chronological aging.
Lead author Dr Paul Mick is a physician and clinical assistant professor at UBC’s Southern Medical Program. The study examined data collected between 1999 and 2010 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a survey that samples 5000 people each year across the United States. The survey examined demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related issues. Dr Mick would like to expand his research to see if interventions such as a hearing screening program similar to what is done for young children could positively impact health outcomes for Canadian seniors.
The study, “Is hearing loss associated with poorer health in older adults who might benefit from hearing screening?” was published in the May/June 2016 issue of Ear and Hearing.
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