A random sample of patients aged 70 and over from a general practice were interviewed in their own homes. Information was sought on their hearing difficulty and mental state: standardised measures of anxiety, depression, and memory loss were used. Of the 657 subjects interviewed, 33% reported having difficulty hearing normal conversations and 6% reported experiencing "much difficulty." Hearing difficulty was associated with both depression and anxiety, but the associations weakened when adjustment was made for physical disability. The association with memory loss disappeared when adjusted for physical disability. There was a close relationship both with age and physical disability.
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