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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


DIAZ ALONSO, Julián et al. Hearing loss and social frailty in older men and women. Gac Sanit [online]. 2021, vol.35, n.5, pp.425-431.  Epub Jan 24, 2022. ISSN 0213-9111.


To explore the association between hearing loss and social frailty in a sample of Spanish older adults recruited from primary health care network.


Crosssectional study on a sample of 445 noninstitutionalized adults aged 65 or more years (190 men and 255 women), recruited from primary care centers in Spain. Three selfreported hearing impairment questions were used to assess hearing loss. Social frailty was deemed to exist when the person presented two or more of the following conditions: living alone, absence of a person to provide help, infrequent contact with family, infrequent contact with friends, lack of confident and lack of help for daily activities in the last 3 months. To study the association between hearing loss and social frailty we used logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders, including physical frailty.


The mean age of participants was 76.2 years (77.5 years for women). More than half of the participants (54.4%) reported hearing loss and the frequency of social frailty was 23.2%. Hearing loss was associated with social frailty (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=1.78; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 1.043.06). However, the association was sexdependent (p for interaction=0.041). In stratified analysis, the association was only found in women (aOR=3.21; 95%CI: 1.447.17).


Hearing loss was associated with social frailty in women, but not in men. Longitudinal studies are needed to confirm this association and to understand the differential effect of gender.

Keywords : Frailty; Older adults; Presbycusis; Hearing loss; Hearing impairment; Sex; Social isolation; Social support; Social frailty.

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