Association of Hearing Impairment and Anxiety in Older Adults

Kevin J. Contrera, Josh Betz, Jennifer Deal, Janet S. Choi, Hilsa N. Ayonayon, Tamara Harris, Elizabeth Helzner, Kathryn R. Martin, Kala Mehta, Sheila Pratt, Susan M. Rubin, Suzanne Satterfield, Kristine Yaffe, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Frank R. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of the study is was investigate the association between hearing impairment and anxiety. Method: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 1,732 community-based adults aged 76 to 85 years who participated in the Health Aging and Body Composition (ABC) study. Logistic regression models were adjusted for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors. Hearing impairment was defined by the speech-frequency pure tone average. Anxiety was defined as reporting two symptoms of at least "a little" or one symptom "quite a bit" on the three-item Hopkins Symptom Checklist. Results: Compared with individuals with no hearing impairment, the odds of prevalent anxiety were higher among individuals with mild hearing impairment (odds ratio [OR] = 1.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.01, 1.73]) and moderate or greater hearing impairment (OR = 1.59, 95% CI = [1.14, 2.22]). Hearing aid use was not significantly associated with lower odds of anxiety. Discussion: Hearing impairment is independently associated with greater odds of anxiety symptoms in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-184
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • anxiety
  • geriatrics
  • hearing
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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