Seniors with an untreated hearing loss have a greater risk of dementia, depression, falls and other conditions, a study finds.

Older adults with untreated hearing loss have an estimated 50% greater risk of dementia, 40% greater risk of depression and almost 30% greater risk for falls compared with those without hearing loss over a 10-year period, an American study finds.

The study also found a 30% increased risk of stroke and a 36% increased risk of acute myocardial infarction among the participants with an untreated hearing loss compared to those without a hearing loss.

Compared to those without hearing loss, those with untreated hearing loss had 3.2 more dementia diagnoses, 3.6 more falls and 6.9 more depression diagnoses per 100 people over 10 years, the study found.

The absolute risk of comorbid conditions associated with untreated hearing loss increased with longer follow-up time.

Data behind the study

The researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US reached their findings after analysing information from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse, a large healthcare dataset including more than 150,000 administrative claims from 1999 to 2016 for adults aged 50 years or older enrolled in large, private U.S. health plans and Medicare Advantage plans. The participants were observed at 2-, 5- and 10-year intervals.

Several previous studies have also found a connection between hearing loss and both dementia and depression.

The study “Incident Hearing Loss and Comorbidity A Longitudinal Administrative Claims Study” was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 2018.

Sources: , and JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

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