(HealthDay News) — For older adults with hearing impairment (HI), moderate or more severe impairment is associated with mortality in an age-adjusted model, according to a research letter published online September 24 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Kevin J. Contrera, MPH, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues used combined data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to examine 1,666 adults aged ≥70 years who had undergone audiometric testing (527 without HI; 1,139 with HI). The authors examined the correlation between HI and mortality.

The researchers found that, compared to individuals without HI, mortality was significantly increased for those with moderate or more severe HI (hazard ratio [HR], 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–2.18) and increased for those with mild HI (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.83–1.95), in an age-adjusted model. The risk was attenuated after further adjustment for demographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors (moderate or more severe HI: HR, 1.39; 95% CI, 0.97–2.01; mild HI: HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.81–1.81).

“Future studies are required to explore the basis of the association of HI with mortality and to determine whether therapies to rehabilitate hearing can reduce mortality,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Cochlear, Autifony, Pfizer, Med-El, and Amplifon.

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