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Association between hearing loss and impaired physical function, frailty, and disability in older adults: A cross-sectional study

JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery Sep 29, 2021

Yévenes-Briones H, Caballero FF, Struijk EA, et al. - Hearing loss [defined as pure-tone average greater than 40 dB hearing loss (HL) in the better ear for standard frequency (0.5, 1, and 2 kHz), speech frequency (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz), and high frequency (3, 4, and 8 kHz)] was linked to impaired lower extremity function, frailty syndrome, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) disability in this cross-sectional analysis of data from the Seniors-ENRICA-2 cohort study. It may be useful to investigate this link with the mechanisms disclosed in future research.

  • There were 831 men (50.5%) among the 1,644 participants, with a mean (SD) age of 73.8 (4.3) years.

  • At speech frequency, the prevalence of moderate HL was 13.6%.

  • After controlling for age, gender, lifestyle, comorbidities, impaired cognition, and social isolation, HL in standard frequency was linked to impaired lower extremity function, with an odds ratio of 2.20; the corresponding estimate for the frailty syndrome was 1.85, and IADL disability was 2.25.

  • When the speech frequency pure-tone average was taken into account, HL was also linked to impaired function, frailty syndrome, and IADL disability.

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