Hearing Loss Linked With More Accidental Injuries


Older adults with self-reported poor hearing may be more accident prone, says a study in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck surgery.  Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined responses from a representative sample of adults (18 years and older) who participated in the 2014 National Health Interview Survey.  More than 6 million respondents reported experiencing an accidental injury within the preceding three months.  Of this group, one in six self-identified their hearing as less than “excellent” or “good.”  Respondents who said they had “a lot of trouble hearing” were almost twice as likely (1.9 times) to suffer an accidental injury.  Although the study did not prove that hearing loss directly causes the risk of accidents to rise, the authors suggest regular hearing screening and increased awareness as a prevention measure.  “We found that leisure-related injuries were particularly interesting since individuals may not consider that a high-risk occasion for injury and may be paying even less attention to their hearing difficulties,” says senior author Neil Bhattacharyya, an otolaryngologist at Brigham and Women’s hospital.