Association of Hearing Impairment With Incident Frailty and Falls in Older Adults.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine whether hearing impairment (HI) in older adults is associated with the development of frailty and falls. METHOD: Longitudinal analysis of observational data from the Health, Aging and Body Composition study of 2,000 participants aged 70 to 79 was conducted. Hearing was defined by the pure-tone-average of hearing thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz in the better hearing ear. Frailty was defined as a gait speed of <0.60 m/s and/or inability to rise from a chair without using arms. Falls were assessed annually by self-report. RESULTS: Older adults with moderate-or-greater HI had a 63% increased risk of developing frailty (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.63, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.26, 2.12]) compared with normal-hearing individuals. Moderate-or-greater HI was significantly associated with a greater annual percent increase in odds of falling over time (9.7%, 95% CI = [7.0, 12.4] compared with normal hearing, 4.4%, 95% CI = [2.6, 6.2]). DISCUSSION: HI is independently associated with the risk of frailty in older adults and with greater odds of falling over time.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kamil, RJ; Betz, J; Powers, BB; Pratt, S; Kritchevsky, S; Ayonayon, HN; Harris, TB; Helzner, E; Deal, JA; Martin, K; Peterson, M; Satterfield, S; Simonsick, EM; Lin, FR; Health ABC study,

Published Date

  • June 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 644 - 660

PubMed ID

  • 26438083

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26438083

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-6887

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0898264315608730


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States