The impact of hearing loss on the quality of life of elderly adults

ENT and Audiology Department, University Hospital of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.
Clinical Interventions in Aging (Impact Factor: 2.08). 06/2012; 7:159-63. DOI: 10.2147/CIA.S26059
Source: PubMed


Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in the elderly, and it is becoming a severe social and health problem. Especially in the elderly, hearing loss can impair the exchange of information, thus significantly impacting everyday life, causing loneliness, isolation, dependence, and frustration, as well as communication disorders. Due to the aging of the population in the developed world, presbycusis is a growing problem that has been reported to reduce quality of life (QoL). Progression of presbycusis cannot be remediated; therefore, optimal management of this condition not only requires early recognition and rehabilitation, but it also should include an evaluation of QoL status and its assessment.

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    • "The progressive aging of society is leading to an increase in the prevalence of hearing loss worldwide. Although hearing loss is not directly life threatening, it may impair social functioning and quality of life, causing isolation, frustration, and impaired communication [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. Meanwhile, several studies have revealed that sleeping disorders such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness are associated with hearing impairments, including hearing loss and tinnitus [7] [8] [9] [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hearing loss leads to impaired social functioning and quality of life. Hearing loss is also associated with sleeping disorders and cardiometabolic risk factors. Here, we determined whether subclinical hearing loss is associated with sleep duration and cardiometabolic risk factors in a cross-sectional and longitudinal study of healthy Japanese general population. 48,091 men and women aged 20-79 years who underwent medical checkups were included in a cross-sectional study, and 6,674 were included in an 8-year longitudinal study. The prevalence of audiometrically determined hearing loss (>25 dB) at 4000 and 1000 Hz increased significantly with increasing sleep duration in any age strata. Logistic regression analysis showed that compared with reference sleep duration (6 h) longer sleep duration (≥8 h) was significantly associated with hearing loss, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors. Simultaneously, hearing loss was significantly associated with male sex, diabetes, and no habitual exercise. In the longitudinal study, the risk of longer sleep duration (≥8 h) after 8 years was significantly greater in subjects with hearing loss at 4000 Hz at baseline. In conclusion, current results suggest a potential association of subclinical hearing loss with longer sleep duration and cardiometabolic risk factors in a Japanese general population.
    International Journal of Otolaryngology 08/2014; 2014:218218. DOI:10.1155/2014/218218
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    • "With an increasing elderly population, this becomes a problem for the individual as well as for society (Ciorba et al., 2012). Environmental factors such as previous exposure to noise and ototoxic drug treatment probably affect the onset and severity of the auditory impairment but genetic factors are likely to significantly influence the progression (Gates et al., 1999; Newman et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: We report here beneficial effects of life-long dietary restriction on the progression of age-associated cochlear degeneration in female Sprague-Dawley rats. Thirty-month old rats on a 70% dietary restriction were compared to ad libitum fed age-matched rats, and three-month old adult rats. As expected, aged dietary restricted rats displayed about 20% higher survival rate than age-matched rats fed ad libitum. This difference was reflected also in the auditory system. In the dietary restricted group, 73% of the subjects had preserved auditory reflexes (Preyer), and only modest degeneration of the stria vascularis of the inner ear was observed. In contrast, aged ad libitum fed animals, of which only 15% had detectable Preyer reflexes, showed a marked thinning, cellular degeneration and loss of cell processes in the stria vascularis. The extent of loss of sensory hair cells (~24%) was similar in both the aged groups, and neither group showed a significant reduction in the number of spiral ganglion neurons across adult life-span. The observations thus demonstrate that dietary restriction delays age-related degradation of the auditory system. The results provide further insights into the mechanisms of strial presbycusis.
    Experimental gerontology 07/2013; 48(11). DOI:10.1016/j.exger.2013.07.004 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The use of personal computers (PCs) and the Internet to provide health care information and interventions has increased substantially over the past decade. Yet the effectiveness of such an approach is highly dependent upon whether the target population has both access and the skill set required to use this technology. This is particularly relevant in the delivery of hearing health care because most people with hearing loss are over 50 years (average age for initial hearing aid fitting is 74 years). Although PC skill and Internet use by demographic factors have been examined previously, data do not currently exist that examine the effects of hearing difficulties on PC skill or Internet use in older adults. Objective: To explore the effect that hearing difficulty has on PC skill and Internet use in an opportunistic sample of adults aged 50-74 years. Methods: Postal questionnaires about hearing difficulty, PC skill, and Internet use (n=3629) were distributed to adults aged 50-74 years through three family physician practices in Nottingham, United Kingdom. A subsample of 84 respondents completed a second detailed questionnaire on confidence in using a keyboard, mouse, and track pad. Summed scores were termed the “PC confidence index.” The PC confidence index was used to verify the PC skill categories in the postal questionnaire (ie, never used a computer, beginner, and competent). Results: The postal questionnaire response rate was 36.78% (1298/3529) and 95.15% (1235/1298) of these contained complete information. There was a significant between-category difference for PC skill by PC confidence index (P<.001), thus verifying the three-category PC skill scale. PC and Internet use was greater in the younger respondents (50-62 years) than in the older respondents (63-74 years). The younger group’s PC and Internet use was 81.0% and 60.9%, respectively; the older group’s PC and Internet use was 54.0% and 29.8%, respectively. Those with slight hearing difficulties in the older group had significantly greater odds of PC use compared to those with no hearing difficulties (odds ratio [OR]=1.57, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-2.30, P=.02). Those with moderate+ hearing difficulties had lower odds of PC use compared with those with no hearing difficulties, both overall (OR=0.58, 95% CI 0.39-0.87, P=.008) and in the younger group (OR=0.49, 95% CI 0.26-0.86, P=.008). Similar results were demonstrated for Internet use by age group (older: OR=1.57, 95% CI 0.99-2.47, P=.05; younger: OR=0.32, 95% CI 0.16-0.62, P=.001). Conclusions: Hearing health care is of particular relevance to older adults because of the prevalence of age-related hearing loss. Our data show that older adults experiencing slight hearing difficulty have increased odds of greater PC skill and Internet use than those reporting no difficulty. These findings suggest that PC and Internet delivery of hearing screening, information, and intervention is feasible for people between 50-74 years who have hearing loss, but who would not typically present to an audiologist.
    Journal of Medical Internet Research 01/2012; 14(4):e113. · 3.43 Impact Factor
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