Hearing Impairment and Physical Activity and Physical Functioning in Older Adults: Baseline Results From the ACHIEVE Trial

for the ACHIEVE Collaborative Research Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hearing loss is associated with restricted physical activity (PA) and impaired physical functioning, yet the relationship between severity of hearing impairment (HI) and novel PA measures in older adults with untreated HI is not well understood. Methods: Analyses included 845 participants aged ≥70 years (mean = 76.6 years) with a better-hearing ear pure-tone average (PTA) ≥30 and <70 dB in the Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders (ACHIEVE) study who wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 7 days. Physical functioning measures included grip strength and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Linear regression models estimated the association by HI level (moderate or greater [PTA ≥ 40 dB] vs mild [PTA < 40 dB]) and continuous hearing with total daily activity counts, active minutes/day, activity fragmentation, grip strength, and gait speed. Logistic regression models estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of poor performance on the SPPB (≤6) and its subtests (≤2). Mixed-effects models estimated differences by HI level in activity by time of day. Results: Participants with moderate or greater HI had poorer physical functioning, particularly balance (OR = 2.17, 95% CI = 1.29–3.67), versus those with mild impairment. There was no association of HI level with activity quantities or fragmentation. For diurnal patterns of activity, participants with moderate or greater HI had fewer activity counts in the afternoon (12:00 pm –05:59 pm). Conclusions: Older adults with worse hearing had shifted diurnal patterns and poorer balance performance. Exercise programs should be tailored to older adults with different levels of HI to maintain PA and physical functioning, particularly balance control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberglae117
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Accelerometry
  • Activity fragmentation
  • Balance performance
  • Diurnal patterns
  • Hearing loss

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial


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