Assisted living for those suffering with hearing impairment in later life could be avoided if treatment is sought early, it has been claimed.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine found evidence of hearing problems prevailing in men and those with lower levels of education.
Perhaps least surprisingly, those who had worked in noisy occupations or with a history of ear surgery were also at risk of early onset hearing impairment.
Scientists suggest that identifying these symptoms early could even prevent or at least minimise further deterioration.
Commenting on the findings, published in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, the authors noted: "The severity of this condition has been shown to be associated with a poorer quality of life, communication difficulties, impaired activities of daily living, dementia, and cognitive dysfunction.
"Hearing impairment is a common condition in middle-aged adults. Cardiovascular disease risk factors may be important correlates of age-related auditory dysfunction."
Earlier this month, researchers at John Hopkins Medical Institutions linked hearing loss to dementia.
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