Hearing loss in middle and older adults is associated with lower physical activity, an English study has found.

The results showed that physical activity was not associated with hearing loss per se. However, during the study it was revealed that physical activity declined more rapidly over time in those with hearing loss, compared to those without.

The 11,292 participants were from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and were 50 years or older at baseline assessment. They were classified at baseline as never reporting hearing loss.

Chronic health conditions

In the study, self-reported hearing was collected every second year. Respondents were asked to rate their hearing as: excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

If respondents wore hearing aids, they rated their hearing based on wearing their hearing aids. Self-reported data for physical activity was also collected at every second year.

The study also found that individuals who reported hearing loss at any stage tended to be older, male, have less education, less wealth and experienced cardiovascular and other chronic health conditions.

Study on ageing

They also had a BMI over 25 (overweight or obese), have smoked, reported higher levels of loneliness and depression and engaged in less physical activity.

The study, called How are hearing loss and physical activity related? Analysis from the English longitudinal study of ageing, was published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

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