Male veterans less likely to have excellent, good hearing

Male veterans are significantly less likely to have excellent or good hearing and are significantly more likely to have a little or moderate trouble hearing, have a lot of trouble hearing, or be deaf compared with nonveterans, according to research published online June 12 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jacqueline W. Lucas, M.P.H., and Carla E. Zelaya, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues assessed the degree of hearing difficulty, vision trouble, and dual sensory impairment in men aged 18 years and older by veteran status.

The researchers found that compared with nonveterans, male veterans were significantly less likely to have excellent or good hearing (72.9 versus 84.1 percent) and were significantly more likely to have a little or moderate trouble hearing (23.2 versus 13.6 percent) and a lot of hearing difficulty or to be deaf (3.9 versus 2.4 percent). Compared with nonveterans, male veterans were also more likely to have dual sensory impairment (5 versus 2.5 percent) and balance problems (24.3 versus 18.7 percent). On stratification by age, male veterans aged 18 to 44 years were much more likely to have little or moderate trouble hearing versus their nonveteran peers (18.0 versus 5.3 percent); findings were similar for male veterans aged 45 to 64 and 65 to 74 years.

“Age-stratified analysis showed differing patterns in the age trends by veteran status, largely due to a higher burden of sensory impairment among young veterans,” the authors write.