Hearing impairment and retirement.

Cruickshanks Lab // Kleins Lab // Publications // Feb 01 2014

PubMed ID: 24828217

Author(s): Fischer ME, Cruickshanks KJ, Pinto A, Klein BE, Klein R, Dalton DS. Hearing impairment and retirement. J Am Acad Audiol. 2014 Feb;25(2):164-70. doi: 10.3766/jaaa.25.2.5. PMID 24828217

Journal: Journal Of The American Academy Of Audiology, Volume 25, Issue 2, Feb 2014

BACKGROUND Many factors influence the decision to retire including age, insurance, and pension availability along with physical and mental health. Hearing impairment may be one such factor.

PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to compare the 15 yr retirement rate among subjects with and without hearing impairment.

RESEARCH DESIGN Prospective, population-based study.

STUDY SAMPLE Subjects were participants in the Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study (EHLS), a longitudinal investigation of age-related hearing loss. Participants who were working full- or part-time in 1993-1995 were included (n = 1410, mean age = 57.8 yr).

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Data from four EHLS phases (1993-1995, 1998-2000, 2003-2005, and 2009-2010) were analyzed in 2010-2012. Hearing impairment was defined as a pure tone threshold average (at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz) greater than 25 dB HL in the worse ear. Employment status was determined at each of the four phases. Kaplan-Meier estimates of the cumulative incidence of retirement were calculated, and Cox discrete-time modeling was used to determine the effect of hearing impairment on the rate of retirement.

RESULTS The cumulative incidence of retirement was significantly (p < 0.02) higher in those with a hearing impairment (77%) compared to those without a hearing impairment (74%). After adjustment for age, gender, self-reported health, and history of chronic disease, there was no significant difference in the rate of retirement between those with and without a hearing impairment (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.7, 1.1). Similar results were observed when hearing aid users were excluded, when hearing impairment was based on the better ear thresholds, and when analyses were restricted to those under 65 yr of age and working full-time at baseline. Participants with a hearing impairment were less likely to state that the main reason for retirement was that the time seemed right.

CONCLUSIONS Hearing impairment was found to be associated with a higher rate of retirement, but the association was not independent of the effects of age, gender, and health.

American Academy of Audiology.