Hearing loss has long been recognized as an independent risk factor for negative health outcomes and mortality. However, a recent cross-sectional study published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity earlier this month has shed light on a potential game-changer – the association between hearing aid use and lower mortality rates in adults in the USA. As a company dedicated to healthy hearing across lifetimes, we are excited to explore the details of this exciting research.
Summary of the Study
This study, conducted between 1999 and 2012, involved 9,885 adults aged 20 years and older, participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The participants completed audiometry and hearing aid use questionnaires, with 1,863 of them identified as having hearing loss. The main measures included hearing loss (speech-frequency pure-tone average) and hearing aid use, categorized as never users, non-regular users, and regular users. Mortality status was tracked through the National Death Index up to Dec 31, 2019.
- Prevalence of Hearing Loss: The study found a hearing loss prevalence of 14.7% among the 9,885 participants.
- All-Cause Mortality: The mortality rate was reported as 13.2% over a median follow-up period of 10.4 years.
- Hearing Aid Use Rates: Among adults with hearing loss, the study revealed that 12.7% were regular hearing aid users, highlighting a potential gap in utilization.
- Association with Mortality: Hearing loss was identified as an independent risk factor associated with higher mortality.
- Impact of Hearing Aid Use: For individuals with hearing loss, regular hearing aid use was associated with a lower mortality risk compared to those who had never used hearing-aids, after accounting for demographics, hearing levels, and medical history.
Implications and Future Research:
As we delve into the implications of this research, it becomes clear that hearing aid adoption may not only enhance auditory experiences but also contribute to improved overall health and longevity. However, further research is essential to fully understand the mechanisms behind this association and explore the broader impact of hearing aid use on mortality. Factors such as improved healthcare access/use of healthcare services, and better cognitive health, mental health, and social engagement among hearing aid users may play a role. As hearing loss uptake remains lower than desired, it's crucial we highlight the various ways in which it can contribute to a healthier life.
At RestorEar, we are committed to advancing hearing health and promoting comprehensive solutions for individuals with hearing loss. As we embrace the findings of this study, we encourage everyone to consider the potential benefits of hearing aid use beyond improved hearing, including the exciting possibility of a longer and healthier life. In the meantime, you can get a headstart on caring for your hearing health with ReBound.
Read the full study here.