A Deterioration in Hearing Is Associated With Functional and Cognitive Impairments, Difficulty With Communication, and Greater Health Instability
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OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship between hearing deterioration and several health-related outcomes among home care clients in Ontario. DESIGN: Longitudinal analysis was completed for clients with at least two comprehensive assessments. Hearing status, based on a single item, ranged from zero (no impairment) to three (highly impaired). Hearing deterioration was defined as at least a 1-point decline between subsequent assessments. RESULTS: Seven percent experienced a 1-point deterioration in hearing and roughly 1% had a 2/3-point decline. After adjusting for other covariates, increasing age (odds ratio = 1.94; 95% confidence intervals [CIs] = [1.45, 2.61]) and a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (1.37; CI = [1.04, 1.80]) and other dementias (1.32; CI = [1.07, 1.63]) increased the risk of a 2/3-point deterioration. CONCLUSION: These findings can assist home care professionals and policy makers in creating and refining interventions to meet the needs of older adults with hearing difficulties.
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