Patients with heart failure are at risk for decreased physical function.

In a study published in May 2020 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey*, researchers discovered hearing loss has a big role in physical function when it comes to someone with heart failure.

The study revealed that older adults with heart failure who have a moderate or greater hearing loss had a higher prevalence of difficulty with the following versus heart failure patients with a mild hearing loss or no hearing loss at all:

  • Activities of Daily Living (feeding, grooming, moving from one body position to another)
  • Instrumental activities of Daily Living (managing finances, housecleaning, managing medication)
  • Lower Extremity Mobility (walking up 10 steps, walking between rooms on the same floor)

Why should those with heart failure keep their hearing health in mind?

  1. Those with heart failure share many cardiovascular disease risk factors that are associate with hearing loss. These risk factors include hypertension, diabetes, and smoking.
  2. Ototoxic medications such as loop diuretics and aspirin that are commonly used in heart failure patients could contribute to hearing loss.
  3. Hearing loss can worsen physical function due to increased cognitive load and decreased executive function. Executive function refers to things such as: focus, task initiation, time management, stress tolerance and working memory.
  4. Hearing loss often results in a communication obstacle which has been shown to heighten the risk of social isolation. Social isolation impacts an individual’s ability to do physical activities and manage their health conditions effectively.


Because hearing loss severity among older adults with heart failure is associate with a higher prevalence of difficulty in physical function across several domains, annual visits with your Audiologist should be incorporated into your wellness routine. Your Audiologist can intervene with effective strategies that exist which can mitigate the effects that hearing loss has on physical function.

Decrease your risk for living with the negative side effects hearing loss can cause you by calling Lemme Audiology Associates at (814) 941-7770 to schedule your hearing evaluation.

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