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Hearing Loss Tied to Less Physical Activity in Older Adults

FRIDAY, April 23, 2021 -- Hearing loss is associated with a worse physical activity profile and contributes to accelerated aging, according to a study published April 19 in JAMA Network Open.

Pei-Lun Kuo, M.D., Ph.D., from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, and colleagues used National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (2003 to 2004) to examine the association between hearing loss and objectively measured physical activity in 291 adults aged 60 to 69 years.

The researchers found that hearing loss was significantly associated with less time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (−5.53 minutes per day), less time spent in light-intensity physical activity (−28.55 minutes per day), more time spent in sedentary behaviors (+34.07 minutes per day), and a more fragmented physical activity pattern (0.38 standard deviation higher in active-to-sedentary transition probability), after adjusting for age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, and comorbidities. The association of hearing loss with physical activity metrics was equivalent to 7.28 years of accelerated age for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, 5.84 years of accelerated age for light-intensity physical activity, and 10.53 years of accelerated age for degree of physical activity fragmentation, versus normal hearing.

"These findings suggest that promoting physical activity among older adults with hearing loss is important, and further research is needed to investigate whether hearing loss interventions could improve physical health profiles," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Frequency Therapeutics and Cochlear Ltd.

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