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Invited Commentary
January 2019

Association of Age-Related Hearing Loss With Multiple Adverse Health Outcomes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Global Brain Health Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019;145(1):43-44. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.3078

Age-related hearing loss (ARHL) has recently received much attention owing to its recognition as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia. An increasing number of observational studies, mostly published in the last decade, have associated ARHL with cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, and dementia, igniting increasing interest in ARHL.1 Livingston et al2 reported that interventions for peripheral hearing loss may reduce the prevalence of dementia by 9% globally, which is a result higher than that for any other modifiable risk factor. Interestingly, ARHL has also been associated with a higher risk for other common age-related conditions, including depression and falls, suggesting that ARHL is connected with a broader decline in health. However, the association of ARHL with adverse health outcomes other than dementia has been less well studied, despite the prevalence of ARHL as a chronic malady in older age (more than half of US adults older than 60 years have clinically meaningful hearing loss).3