Hearing Loss More Common in Older White Adults Versus Blacks

In adjusted analysis, the odds of hearing loss were up to 91 percent higher in White versus Black participants

Hearing Loss More Common in Older White Adults Versus Blacks
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TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The likelihood of hearing loss is nearly double in older White adults versus older Black adults, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.

ZhiDi Deng, from University of Toronto, and colleagues assessed racial differences in self-reported hearing loss among older U.S. adults (65 years and older). The analysis included data from 467,789 non-Hispanic White and 45,105 non-Hispanic Black participants in the 2016 and 2017 American Community Survey.

The researchers found that the prevalence of hearing loss was markedly higher among older White adults (15.4 percent in both surveys) versus Black participants (9.0 percent in 2017 and 9.4 percent in 2016). When adjusting for age and sex, the odds of hearing loss were 69 percent higher for White participants versus Black participants in 2017, which increased to 91 percent higher odds when adjusting for household income and education level. In a fully adjusted analysis, 2016 findings were very similar (odds ratio, 1.81).

"Interestingly, we found that among males, non-Hispanic Black Americans have a prevalence of hearing loss that is similar to non-Hispanic White Americans who are 10-years younger," Deng said in a statement. "More research is needed to understand the extraordinary differences in hearing."

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