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J Public Health (Oxf). 2018 Nov 27. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy209. [Epub ahead of print]

Hearing loss, mental well-being and healthcare use: results from the Health Survey for England (HSE).

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Belfast, UK.
Queens University Belfast, Centre for Public Health, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, UK.



Hearing loss (HL) affects an estimated 17% of adults in Britain, 19% in Canada and 16% in the USA. Evidence points to the impact of HL on aspects of physical and mental health as well as autonomy, cognition, memory and social isolation. This suggests the relationship between HL and service use may arise indirectly as well as directly, an issue that warrants investigation.


We used data from Health Survey for England (2014) on objectively and subjectively measured HL, mental and physical health as well as aspects of well-being related to autonomy, cognition, memory and social isolation within a series of bivariate probit models to examine the relationship between health and GP use in the past two weeks. Data for between ~3000 and 1700 individuals were examined.


A significant correlation in errors was found in each aspect of well-being demonstrating the appropriateness of the bivariate model. In three of the six regressions (concentration, memory and GHQ score) wearing a hearing aid (in some age groups) attenuated the impact of HL on outcome (relative to being younger or not wearing a hearing aid).


While HL did not directly predict use of GP services, it consistently predicted aspects of cognition, autonomy, mobility and memory found to predict service use.


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