The research team analyzed findings from the 2005-2006 cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which has been collecting health data from thousands of Americans since 1971.
Explore This IssueMay 2011
While hearing loss is often accepted as a normal part of aging, the study’s leader, Frank Lin, MD, PhD, believes that the condition deserves to be taken seriously. Dr. Lin, assistant professor in the division of otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a core faculty member in the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, cited research strongly linking hearing impairment to other health problems, such as cognitive decline, dementia and poorer physical functioning.
Unfortunately, Dr. Lin noted, the study found that only one in five older adults with hearing loss wears hearing aids, and just 3 percent of those with mild loss do. Describing this compliance rate as “phenomenally low,” the Hopkins otologist reported that he and his colleagues plan to conduct a study to determine if the use of amplification could prevent some of the health issues tied to hearing loss.