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Epidemiology of the extent of recreational noise exposure and hearing protection use: cross-sectional survey in a nationally representative UK adult population sampleAbstract: Background: Hearing loss is prevalent and disabling, yet little is known about the extent of recreational noise exposure and hearing protection use. The aim of the present research was to estimate the extent of recreational noise exposure and hearing protection use in a sample representative of the UK adult population. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 10,401 UK adults who were representative of the population. Results: More than 7000 people (n = 7590, 73.0%) reported exposure to recreational noise excluding headphone and earphone use in the last 12 months. Just 158 people (2.1%) reported wearing hearing protection for every noisy recreational activity. Age (younger people) and beliefs of a behavioral (as opposed to genetic) cause of hearing loss were predictive of both higher recreational noise exposure and greater hearing protection use. Men were more exposed to recreational noise but women were less likely to use hearing protection. Conclusions: For the first time, the present research quantifies the recreational noise exposure and low levels of hearing protection use in a representative sample of the UK population. The biggest public health gains are likely to be achieved through interventions targeted at younger people and in explaining behavioral (as opposed to genetic) causes of hearing loss.
The dynamic relationship between hearing loss, quality of life, socioeconomic position and depression and the impact of hearing aids: answers from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).The adverse impact of hearing loss (HL) extends beyond auditory impairment and may affect the individuals' psychosocial wellbeing. We aimed to examine whether there exists a causal psychosocial pathway between HL and depression in later life, via socioeconomic factors and quality of life, and whether hearing aids usage alleviates depressive symptoms over time. We examined the longitudinal relationship between HL and depressive symptoms (CES-D) applying dynamic cross-lagged mediation path models. We used the full dataset of participants aged 50-89 years (74,908 person-years), from all eight Waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Their quality of life (CASP-19) and their wealth were examined as the mediator and moderator of this relationship, respectively. Subgroup analyses investigated differences among those with hearing aids within different models of subjectively and objectively identified HL. All models were adjusted for age, sex, retirement status and social engagement. Socioeconomic position (SEP) influenced the strength of the relationship between HL and depression, which was stronger in the lowest versus the highest wealth quintiles. The use of hearing aids was beneficial for alleviating depressive symptoms. Those in the lowest wealth quintiles experienced a lower risk for depression after the use of hearing aids compared to those in the highest wealth quintiles. HL poses a substantial risk for depressive symptoms in older adults, especially those who experience socioeconomic inequalities. The early detection of HL and provision of hearing aids may not only promote better-hearing health but could also enhance the psychosocial wellbeing of older adults, particularly those in a lower SEP. [Abstract copyright: © 2021. The Author(s).]