Hearing-impaired adults are at increased risk of experiencing emotional distress and social engagement restrictions five years later

Bamini Gopinath, Louise Hickson, Julie Schneider, Catherine M. Mcmahon, George Burlutsky, Stephen R. Leeder, Paul Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: we aimed to assess both cross-sectional and temporal links between measured hearing impairment and self-perceived hearing handicap, and health outcomes.Methods: in total, 811 Blue Mountains Hearing Study participants (Sydney, Australia) aged ≥55 years were examined twice (1997-99 and 2002-04). Hearing levels were measured with pure-tone audiometry. The shortened version of the hearing handicap inventory (HHIE-S) was administered, scores ≥8 defined hearing handicap.Results: baseline hearing impairment was strongly associated with 7 of the 10 HHIE-S questions, 5 years later. Individuals with and without hearing impairment at baseline reported that they felt embarrassed and/or frustrated by their hearing problem, and that it hampered their personal/social life, multivariable-adjusted OR: 11.5 (CI: 3.5-38.1), OR: 6.3 (CI: 2.5-15.7) and OR: 6.0 (CI: 2.1-17.5), respectively, 5 years later. Hearing-impaired, compared with non-hearing-impaired adults had a significantly higher risk of developing moderate or severe hearing handicap, OR: 3.35 (CI: 1.91-5.90) and OR: 6.60 (CI: 1.45-30.00), respectively. Cross-sectionally (at wave 2), hearing handicap increased the odds of depressive symptoms and low self-rated health by 80 and 46%, respectively.Conclusion: older, hearing-impaired adults were significantly more likely to experience emotional distress and social engagement restrictions (self-perceived hearing handicap) directly due to their hearing impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberafs058
Pages (from-to)618-623
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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