Objective: To determine the association between self-reported hearing status and risk of hospitalisation among Chinese middle-aged and older adults.
Design: Prospective cohort study. Discrete-time hazards models and negative binomial models were fitted to examine the relationship.
Study sample: About 11,902 participants aged 45 years or older with no hospitalisation at baseline.
Results: 49.28-62.70% of the participants reported their hearing as fair or poor. For older adults aged 60 and above, compared to people with excellent and very good hearing, those with good, fair or poor hearing reported shorter time to first hospitalisation [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.38, 1.38, 1.63, respectively]. They also manifested greater number of hospitalisations [incident rate ratio (IRR) = 1.21, 1.25, 1.54, respectively], and longer duration of hospitalisation (IRR = 1.36, 1.26, 1.53, respectively). However, there was no significant association between hearing status and hospitalisation for middle-aged adults for none of the hearing categories.
Conclusions: Although no significant relationship between hearing and hospitalisation was found for middle-aged adults, older adults with poorer hearing experienced greater risk of hospitalisation. Given that hearing impairment is highly prevalent among older adults, future analyses are needed to investigate whether hearing rehabilitative therapies could help mitigate hospitalisations in hearing-impaired older adults.
Keywords: Hearing status; demographics/epidemiology; hospitalisation; middle-aged and older adults.