Travis Isaacs

Hearing loss associated with other health issues

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Untreated hearing loss is associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation for other conditions, according to two international studies. In the first study, researchers report untreated hearing loss was associated with more hospitalisations, increased risk of hospital re-admission and emergency department visits, and longer hospital stays. The second study of the same group of adults found hearing loss was associated with an increased risk of a range of health conditions over 10 years, including dementia, depression, falls and heart attacks. Accompanying editorials say doctors need to screen their patients for hearing loss to minimise these risks.

Journal/conference: JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

Organisation/s: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Funder: This work was supported by AARP and AARP Services, Inc. Dr Deal was supported by NIH/NIA grant K01AG054693. Dr Lin was supported by R01AG055426, R01HL096812, R33DC015062, and the Eleanor Schwartz Charitable Foundation. Drs Deal, Reed, and Reed were supported in part by the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health.

Media Release

From: JAMA

Bottom Line: Two studies and two commentaries examine the association of untreated hearing loss with health care use, costs and other health conditions.

What: More than 38 million adults in the United States experience hearing loss; however, fewer than 20 percent report using hearing aids. In one study, researchers examined health care use and costs over 10 years among about 4,700 adults 50 and older with and without untreated hearing loss who were included in a health insurance database. Researchers report untreated hearing loss was associated with more hospitalizations, increased risk of 30-day hospital readmission, increased risk of emergency department visits and longer hospital stays. Over a 10-year period, people with untreated hearing loss incurred an average of $22,000 more in health care costs than people without hearing loss. Limitations of the study are inherent to using claims data, including data coding processes designed for billing not research.

Authors: Nicholas S. Reed, Au.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Baltimore, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.2875)

What: Another data analysis of the same group of adults examined the association between a diagnosis of hearing loss and other health conditions. Researchers report hearing loss was associated with an increased 10-year risk of a range of health conditions, including dementia, depression, falls and heart attack. More studies are needed to understand the reasons underlying these associations and whether treatment for hearing loss might reduce risk for these conditions.

Authors: Jennifer A. Deal, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and coauthors

(doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.2876)

Attachments:

  • JAMA
    Web page
    Untreated hearing loss over 10 years. The URL will go live after the embargo ends.
  • JAMA
    Web page
    Untreated hearing loss over 10 years. The URL will go live after the embargo ends.
  • JAMA
    Web page
    Incident Hearing Loss and Comorbidity. The URL will go live after the embargo ends.
  • JAMA
    Web page
    The Invisible Costs of Hearing Loss. The URL will go live after the embargo ends.

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