Association of Hearing Impairment and Emotional Vitality in Older Adults

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Abstract

Objectives:

To better understand the potential impact of hearing impairment (HI) and hearing aid use on emotional vitality and mental health in older adults.

Method:

We investigated the cross-sectional association of HI with emotional vitality in 1,903 adults aged 76–85 years in the Health ABC study adjusted for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors. Hearing was defined by the speech frequency pure tone average (no impairment < 25 dB, mild impairment 25–40 dB, and moderate or greater impairment > 40 dB). Emotional vitality was defined as having a high sense of personal mastery, happiness, low depressive symptomatology, and low anxiety.

Results:

Compared with individuals with no HI, participants with moderate or greater HI had a 23% lower odds of emotional vitality (odds ratio [OR] = 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.59–0.99). Hearing aid use was not associated with better emotional vitality (OR = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.81–1.20).

Discussion:

HI is associated with lower odds of emotional vitality in older adults. Further studies are needed to examine the longitudinal impact of HI on mental health and well-being.

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