Hearing handicap and speech recognition correlate with self-reported listening effort and fatigue

Sara Alhanbali, Piers Dawes, Simon Lloyd, Kevin J. Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the correlations between hearing handicap, speech recognition, listening effort, and fatigue. 

DESIGN: Eighty-four adults with hearing loss (65 to 85 years) completed three self-report questionnaires: the Fatigue Assessment Scale, the Effort Assessment Scale, and the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Elderly. Audiometric assessment included pure-tone audiometry and speech recognition in noise. 

RESULTS: There was a significant positive correlation between handicap and fatigue (r = 0.39, p < 0.05) and handicap and effort (r = 0.73, p < 0.05). There were significant (but lower) correlations between speech recognition and fatigue (r = 0.22, p < 0.05) or effort (r = 0.32, p< 0.05). There was no significant correlation between hearing level and fatigue or effort. 

CONCLUSIONS: Hearing handicap and speech recognition both correlate with self-reported listening effort and fatigue, which is consistent with a model of listening effort and fatigue where perceived difficulty is related to sustained effort and fatigue for unrewarding tasks over which the listener has low control. A clinical implication is that encouraging clients to recognize and focus on the pleasure and positive experiences of listening may result in greater satisfaction and benefit from hearing aid use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-474
Number of pages5
JournalEar and Hearing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • fatigue
  • listening effort


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