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Hearing loss rate in older adults climbs to more than 60% in national survey

Nearly two-thirds of Americans age 70 and older have hearing 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 under-reported 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.

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