Characteristics and Health Outcomes Associated With Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Use Among Older Adults

J Aging Health. Aug-Sep 2020;32(7-8):724-734. doi: 10.1177/0898264319848866. Epub 2019 May 16.


Background: This study recruited older adults to explore physical and psychosocial conditions and other health outcomes associated with hearing loss (HL) and hearing aid use. Method: Survey data were used to categorize 20,244 participants into five groups: no HL, unaided mild HL, aided mild HL, unaided severe HL, and aided severe HL. Results: Individuals with unaided severe HL were more likely to report poor-fair self-rated health and were less likely to leave the home, or exercise 4 to 7 days per week, while there were no such associations for those with aided mild or severe HL. In addition, those with aided hearing were less likely to report depression, low social support, or mobility limitations. Discussion: In several instances, hearing aid use reduced associations between HL and negative psychosocial and physical characteristics, and health outcomes. More research using longitudinal study designs is needed to better understand the true implications of these findings.

Keywords: Medicare; hearing aids; hearing loss; older adults; psychosocial factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression* / etiology
  • Depression* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Functional Status
  • Hearing Aids* / psychology
  • Hearing Aids* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hearing Loss* / complications
  • Hearing Loss* / psychology
  • Hearing Loss* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Psychosocial Functioning*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires