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Differences in Oral Health According to the Presence of Hearing Loss: Data from the 2021 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Noise & Health 2024 April
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of hearing loss is increasing annually and has a strong relationship with oral health. However, existing research on hearing loss is limited to children, making it necessary to expand the analysis to adults. Therefore, this study aims to identify differences in oral health-related factors according to hearing loss in adults over 40 years of age using the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

METHODS: This study analyzed survey data from 2021. The study participants were divided into 1738 individuals in the nonhearing loss group and 1384 in the hearing loss group. Complex sample chi-square and complex sample independent t-tests were performed to determine differences in the sociodemographic characteristics, systemic diseases, hearing loss-related factors, and oral health status between the two groups.

RESULTS: Compared to the nonhearing loss group, the hearing loss group was older and had lower income and education levels. In terms of oral health, the hearing loss group had fewer existing natural teeth, poorer prosthesis conditions, and a higher number of implants than the nonhearing loss group. The hearing loss group also experienced comparatively more problems with chewing and speaking (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with hearing loss exhibited poorer oral health status than those without hearing loss. Therefore, dental professionals in clinical practice should develop their communication skills to interact effectively with patients with hearing loss and strive to improve their oral health.

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