Hearing loss is a risk factor of disability in older adults: A systematic review

Tzu Chia Lin, Miaofen Yen, Yen Chi Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: Hearing loss (HL) is a public health problem affecting older adults. HL is not only a health condition but also a complex, dynamic phenomenon related to disability. Previous studies identified associations between HL and undesirable outcomes; however, their correlation remains inconclusive. Hearing loss can have profound impact on daily life in the elderly, and an understanding of how HL contributes to disability is needed. A systematic review was conducted to comprehensively examine current evidence and determine the association between HL and disability regarding impairment, activity and participation in older adults. Research Design and Methods: The Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines were applied in this systematic review. Quality assessment was conducted using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for longitudinal studies and the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Checklist for cross-sectional studies. Results: In this systematic review of 20 studies, HL was associated with mobility limitation, activity limitation and participation restriction. The severity of HL was associated with impaired mobility and physical performance, but the association was only found in persons with severe/major HL. HL was also associated with activities of daily living (ADL) dependency, however these findings were mainly based on cross-sectional studies. Discussion and Implications: HL is related to disability by impairment, activity limitations or participation restrictions in older adults. Future studies should include participation restrictions as a mediation factor to better understand this association. Consistent and accurate hearing measurements and hearing loss criteria are also required to determine the impact of HL on disability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103907
JournalArchives of gerontology and geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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