Older Adults’ Hearing May Be Tied to Earlier Death
Findings don’t prove that impaired hearing is to blame, but draw attention to quality-of-life issues
By Amy Norton
THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Older adults with impaired hearing may have a shorter life span than their peers without hearing problems, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that among nearly 1,700 U.S. adults aged 70 and up, those with hearing loss were 21 percent to 39 percent more likely to die over the next several years.
Experts stressed that the findings, published in the Sept. 24 online edition of JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, do not prove that hearing impairment, itself, shortens people’s lives.
“This is an interesting observation, but it also needs to be taken with a grain of salt,” said Dr. Ana Kim, director of otology research at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, in New York City, who was not involved in the research.