Hearing loss increases the risk of other health problems such as tinnitus and heart disease and reduced physical activity, a study finds.

An American study has found that people who self-report hearing loss to a larger extend experience tinnitus and other health problems compared to people who report normal hearing.

Tinnitus much more likely

In the study, disproportionate rates of tinnitus and heart disease were found in all levels of self-reported hearing loss but most notably in those identifying themselves as having moderate or a lot of trouble hearing. In the study, tinnitus was 8.6 times more likely for those who identified as having moderate or a lot of hearing loss. Those with any level of hearing loss were 3 to 5 times more likely to self-report heart disease.

Participants in the study who reported any level of hearing loss were 2.5 to 9 times more likely to be unable to engage in moderate or vigorous activity on a weekly basis, depending on the degree of the hearing loss.

About 1 in 5 of the adults participating in the study reported some level of hearing loss.

Health worse than last year

Participants with moderate hearing loss or a lot of trouble hearing were almost 3 times more likely to rate their health as “worse” than last year compared to those with excellent or good hearing.

About the study

The purpose of the study was to identify the current health status of adults in the United States with self-reported hearing loss and compare it with US adults with a self-reported excellent or good hearing.

The study used 2014 data from the Sample Adult Public Use File from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). A total of 36,697 face-to-face interviews based on a questionnaire were carried out in the participants’ homes. The participants self-reported about their hearing ability.

Respondents were grouped into one of four categories: excellent/good hearing, a little trouble hearing, moderate/a lot of trouble hearing, and deaf. The excellent/good hearing group was used as the comparison group for the other three levels of hearing.

The study, “Health Status of Adults with Hearing Loss in the United States”, was published in the journal Audiology Research.

Sources:  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal Audiology Research.

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