International peer-reviewed medical journal – JAMA Internal Medicine – recently published the results of an independent study that investigated the connection between untreated hearing loss and decline of physical function. From 2016 to 2017, Pablo Martinez-Amezcua, M.D., Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and selected colleagues conducted a cohort study of 2,956 aging American adults from four different sites.
Results of the Study
- Those with hearing loss showed remarkably worse mobility abilities, including balance and walking endurance.
- There was a sharper decline in physical function among those with hearing loss compared to the participants whose hearing was in the normal range.
How Was This Study Conducted?
Participants were assessed with a pure tone audiometry and then separated out into one of the following categories: normal hearing or mild, moderate, or severe hearing impairment. The segments resulted in the following:
- one-third of participants had normal hearing
- 40% had mild hearing impairment
- 23% had moderate hearing impairment
- 4% percent had severe hearing impairment
From there, a physical ability test was performed on a scale of 0 to 12. Participants were scored for their balance, gait speed, chair stands, and walking endurance. Both sociodemographic factors and medical histories were taken into account as scores were composited.
At the conclusion of this cohort study, the team found an association between hearing impairment and a faster decline in physical function. The good news? Because hearing loss is a treatable condition, this study suggests that interventions could potentially slow down age-related physical function and mobility loss.
The Importance of Hearing Health
If that wasn’t enough to convince you that treating hearing loss is important, there are more studies to back up those findings—and expand upon them even further. According to a 2019 study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, hearing aid usage is “associated with delayed diagnosis of AD, dementia, depression, anxiety, and injurious falls among older adults with [hearing loss].”
To put it simply—the sooner you come in for an audiometry test, the sooner our audiologists can begin diagnosing, treating, and helping you hear better. And as we’ve seen, taking care of your hearing health can have all kinds of positive ramifications. If you’re looking to stay active and engaged for longer, you’ll want to continue to schedule regular hearing tests and follow the treatments prescribed, which may include hearing aids.
Schedule Your Hearing Aid Test with SoundGate
Our bodies are holistic instruments—what affects one part of the body has repercussions on another. Now is the time to find out if you’re dealing with hearing loss. Our team of audiologists is here to take care of you, answer your questions, and help you feel comfortable. Whether it’s your first time getting a hearing test or you’re already familiar with the process, we’re happy to have you.
Schedule an appointment with SoundGate today.