• Early Hearing Loss and Substance Abuse Issues

    April 4, 2019

    Individuals under the age of 50 who suffer from hearing loss are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol, according to a research study. One finding that the study uncovered is that younger people with hearing impairments are more likely to misuse opioids than those who have normal hearing.

    The Study

    According to the researchers, these findings make it absolutely essential for doctors and other health care providers to be especially careful when treating medical conditions in younger adults who have hearing impairments. These individuals have a greater risk of abusing prescription drugs for pain and mental health conditions. It is also important for young people who are hard of hearing to see a hearing care professional to better manage their impairment.

    The study, which will appear in the April edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, was performed by a research team from the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. The researchers explain their findings from studying 86,186 adults who partook in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

    The Research

    Their research found that adults younger than age 50 with hearing impairments are at a greater risk for developing a substance abuse disorder than people in their age group with normal hearing. In addition, people older than 50 who have hearing impairments were found to have less of a risk of addiction to drugs or alcohol.

    The research team made adjustments for the differences in mental health, economic and social situations between the two groups and determined that there was still a greater risk of substance abuse among the hearing impaired group. Specifically, people younger than 35 who were hard of hearing were found to be as much as two and a half times more likely to have an addiction to opioids.

    Individuals between 35 and 49 with hearing loss were almost twice at risk of having either an alcohol or prescription opioid addiction than their normal hearing peers. What can be done to reduce these numbers? Those with symptoms of hearing loss should get regular hearing tests. A meeting with an audiologist to determine level of hearing loss and the right fitting aid can help a person suffering from these symptoms to take back their hearing.

    Learn more about how a fitted hearing aid can help individuals take control of their hearing today. Contact Beltone South today.

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