Hearing loss is linked to significant mental, physical and social ailments in seniors, a large new Japanese study has found.

In a nationwide survey, older adults with hearing loss reported being more likely to experience outdoor activity limitations, psychological distress and memory loss than those without the condition. The gap was most profound for memory loss. More than 37% reported memory issues compared with 5.2% of participants with normal hearing, the researchers wrote.

“Hearing loss takes an enormous toll on older people in so many ways, physically and mentally, while limiting activities of daily living,” said study co-author Yoko Kobayashi in an accompanying statement. “Greater awareness of the burden of hearing loss will help improve their quality of life. Measures such as hearing aids and social support by volunteers in the community can also provide them with assistance.”

The cross‐sectional study culled data from the 2016 Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions in Japan. The findings were published in Geriatrics & Gerontology International.