Hearing loss can affect quality of life for older adults

senior man and daughterA U.S. study has revealed that reduced hearing can impede one’s mental and physical quality of life. The research reveals that hearing loss can have very widespread effects and therefore treatment cannot disregard the mental and emotional health of those affected. These findings stress the need to seek immediate treatment and appropriate prevention of hearing impairment.

The study, “The Prevalence of Hearing Impairment and Its Burden on the Quality of Life Among Adults with Medicare Supplement Insurance,” appeared in Quality of Life Research, the official journal of the International Society of Quality of Life Research in the U.S..

It found that hearing impairment can affect mental and physical quality of life to a greater degree than hypertension, osteoporosis or even a stroke. Americans aged 65 and over say that hearing impairment affects their quality of life physically and mentally to a greater degree than hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, sciatica and cancer, according to a study. The study surveyed more than 5,500 older adults.

After taking into account all other factors that might have affected the scores, the study found that hearing loss itself resulted in an average 3.25-point reduction in Physical Component Score (PCS) and a 3.22-point reduction in Mental Component Score (MCS). These scores provide an estimate of physical and mental health status, measures which are commonly used to evaluate health-related quality of life. A change of 3.0 points or greater is generally considered clinically meaningful.

The issue has been highlighted by Hidden Hearing over the years through its Hearing Awareness Week campaign. “This research is further proof of the potential negative impact that hearing impairment can have on older adults’ quality of life, an issue that we are seeing every day in our branches,” said Dolores Madden.

“We’ve campaigned in the past about the psychological impact that hearing loss can make, with those who suffer from it switching off from family and friends to the detriment of their mental health. People need to talk with their doctors or audiologists about their hearing and learn more about what options are available if they suffer from hearing impairment,” Dolores Madden said.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.

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