Most people will experience some degree of hearing loss as they age. Statistics from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National institutes of Health (NIH) indicate that 30 percent of adults ages 65 to 74, and 47 percent of adults 75 years or older, have hearing loss.
Explore this issue:January 2011
Besides these findings, there is a paucity of data on the effects of hearing loss on older adults. Much that is known about the psychosocial effects of hearing loss on older adults comes from a 1999 report by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), which found that untreated hearing loss is a prevalent and serious problem among hearing-impaired older adults.
Compared to older adults with corrected hearing impairment, the NCOA study found that older adults with untreated hearing impairment were more likely to experience sadness and depression, worry and anxiety, paranoia, less social activity and emotional turmoil and insecurity. The percentages of patients with mild hearing loss reporting these outcomes are shown in table 1 (p. 5), while those with more severe hearing loss are shown in table 2 (p. 5).