Importance: Hearing loss may be a modifiable factor associated with decreased physical activity in older adults. Objective: To examine the association of hearing loss with objectively measured physical activity, including moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, light-intensity physical activity, sedentary behavior, and pattern of physical activity (physical activity fragmentation). Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cross-sectional study used National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data collected in the 2003 to 2004 cycle and analyzed in 2017 to 2020. Participants aged 60 to 69 years with complete audiometry, physical activity, and comorbidity data were included in the analysis. Data analysis was performed from January 2017 to December 2020. Exposures: Hearing defined by the pure tone average (PTA; range, 0.5-4 kHz) in the better ear, with normal PTA defined as less than 25 dB hearing loss, mild hearing loss defined as PTA 25 to less than 40 dB hearing loss, and moderate or greater hearing loss defined as a PTA greater than or equal to 40 dB hearing loss. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were comprehensive metrics of objectively measured physical activity, including time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, light-intensity physical activity, and sedentary behavior, and physical activity fragmentation. Linear regression was used to model the association between hearing loss and physical activity. Results: Of the 291 participants (mean [SD] age, 64.53 [2.96] years), 139 (47.8%) were male, 48 (16.5%) had mild hearing loss, and 22 (7.6%) had moderate or greater hearing loss. After adjusting for age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, and comorbidities, hearing loss (vs normal hearing) was significantly associated with less time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by 5.53 minutes per day (95% CI, -10.15 to -0.90 minutes per day), less time spent in light-intensity physical activity by 28.55 minutes per day (95% CI, -53.07 to -4.02 minutes per day), more time spent in sedentary behaviors by 34.07 minutes per day (95% CI, 8.32 to 59.82 minutes per day), and more fragmented physical activity pattern by 0.38 SD higher in active-to-sedentary transition probability (95% CI, to 0.10 to 0.65). The magnitude of the association of hearing loss (vs normal hearing) with physical activity metrics was equivalent to 7.28 years (95% CI, 3.19 to 11.37 years) of accelerated age for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, 5.84 years (95% CI, 1.45 to 10.23 years) of accelerated age for light-intensity physical activity, and 10.53 years (95% CI, 2.89 to 18.16 years) of accelerated age for degree of physical activity fragmentation. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that hearing loss is associated with a worse physical activity profile. Whether interventions to address hearing loss in adults could improve physical activity profiles will require further study..
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