Association of Age-Related Hearing Impairment with Physical
Hearing impairment, a common treatable condition, may contribute to poorer physical function with aging. This study’s findings suggest that because hearing impairment is a prevalent but treatable condition, it may be a target for interventions to slow the decline of physical function associated with aging.

The objective was to assess whether the hearing impairment is associated with poorer physical function, reduced walking endurance, and faster decline in physical function.

Of the 2956 participants who attended the study, 1722 were women, and 2356 were White. As determined by pure tone audiometry, 973 participants had normal hearing, 1170 had mild hearing impairment, 692 had moderate hearing impairment, and 121 had a severe hearing impairment.

- In the Tobit regression model, severe hearing impairment was associated with a lower mean SPPB score compared with normal hearing.

- In fully adjusted logistic regression models, hearing impairment was associated with higher odds of low physical performance scores.

- Over time, participants with hearing impairment had faster declines in SPPB compared with those with normal hearing.

- In adjusted models for walking endurance, participants with moderate or severe hearing impairment walked a mean distance of –2.81 m than those with normal hearing, respectively, during the 2-minute walk test.

In this cohort study, hearing impairment was associated with poorer performance, faster decline in physical function, and reduced walking endurance. The results of the longitudinal analysis suggest that hearing impairment may be associated with poorer physical function with aging.

JAMA Network Open