Hearing aids and quality of life among older adults

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University of Alabama Libraries

Eighty percent of older adults have hearing loss. Hearing loss is associated with quality of life (i.e., social support, mental health, general health, and physical functioning), but it is unclear if using hearing aids is positively correlated with quality of life. The current study tested three groups, those with: normal hearing, hearing loss with hearing aids, and hearing loss without hearing aids. Hearing thresholds were established with pure-tone audiometry. Total sample size was 100 participants aged 60 and older. It was hypothesized those with normal hearing would have significantly better quality of life than those with hearing aids, who would have significantly better quality of life than those with hearing loss but without hearing aids. Data were analyzed with MANCOVAs and ANOVAs. Differences in quality of life among the three groups approached significance despite platykurtic data that brought power sharply down. After Winsorization, there was a significant difference among the groups; the group without aids had significantly poorer quality of life than the group with normal hearing, which did not significantly differ from the group with hearing aids. MANCOVA significance was largely due to the significant general health variable. These results were found when 54% of the group with aids wore them for less than eight hours a day, and the group without aids only had mild hearing loss. Further, disease-specific measures suggested decreased handicap for the group with aids. These results call for future investigations of people with at least moderate hearing loss and people who wear aids more consistently.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Psychology, Audiology