Nearly two-thirds of Americans age 70 and older have hearing loss, but those who are of black race seem to have a protective effect against this loss, according to a new study led by Johns Hopkins and National Institute on Aging researchers.
These findings, published online Feb. 28 in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, provide what is believed to be the first nationally representative survey in older adults on this often ignored and underreported condition.
Contrary to the view that hearing loss is of only minor importance in old age, study leader Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a core faculty member in the Johns Hopkins Center of Aging and Health, says studies including his own have strongly linked it to other health problems, such as cognitive decline, dementia, and poorer physical functioning. And he notes that relatively little is known about risk factors that drive hearing loss.
To fill in some of the blanks, Lin and his colleagues analyzed data from the 2005-2006 cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a research program that has periodically gathered health data from thousands of Americans since 1971. In the 2005-2006 cycle, the hearing of participants 70 years or older was checked using a test that determined whether they could detect tones in frequencies used in speech.
When the researchers analyzed the numbers from 717 volunteers, they found that about 63 percent had hearing loss that ranged from mild to severe. Mixing in demographic data showed that those who were older or male were more likely to have hearing loss or more severe hearing loss than younger or female subjects. The researchers also found that being black appeared to be protective. While about 64 percent of white subjects had hearing loss, only about 43 percent of black subjects did. After accounting for other factors that are associated with hearing loss like age and previous noise exposure, black participants had only a third of the chance of having hearing loss when compared with white participants.
Lin notes that he and his colleagues aren't sure why being black might prevent hearing loss, but they and other research teams have suggested that pigment produced by cells in the skin and inner ear might protect the inner ear by absorbing free radicals, among other mechanisms.
Despite the overwhelming number of older adults with hearing loss, the study found that only one-fifth use hearing aids, with only 3 percent of those with mild hearing loss taking advantage of these devices.
"Any way you cut it, the rates of hearing aid use are phenomenally low," Lin says. He and his colleagues are currently planning a study to see whether hearing aid use could prevent some of the conditions connected to hearing loss.For more information, go to:
Christen Brownlee | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy