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Wednesday
Mar022011

Hearing Loss Greater After Age 70, Hearing Aid Use Low

Photo Courteys - Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Sixty-three percent of Americans age 70 and older experience significant hearing loss, according to a new study published online in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied 717 people over 70 years old and found that of the participants with hearing loss, 64 percent were white, while African-Americans with loss of hearing made up only 43 percent of the sample.  Researchers further concluded that African-Americans only had about a third of the chance of having hearing loss compared with whites after looking at age, noise exposure and other considerations associated with hearing loss.

The study authors were not able to determine a reason why older white people have a greater chance of hearing loss.

The study also found that only about 20 percent of older adults actually use a hearing aid, despite the high rate of hearing loss among this age group.

"Any way you cut it, the rates of hearing aid use are phenomenally low," said study researcher Frank Lin, MD, PhD.

Lin and his colleagues reported in the study that hearing aid use appeared to be dependent upon the severity of hearing loss.  Only three percent of people with mild hearing loss said they used a hearing aid, compared to 41 percent with moderate or severe hearing loss.

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