Article

Functional status of elderly people with hearing loss.

Primary Care Head Office. Marqués de Villores 6, 02001 Albacete, Spain.
Archives of gerontology and geriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.36). 07/2008; 49(1):88-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.archger.2008.05.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective is to determine the prevalence of hearing loss in people over 65 years of age, to describe the functional status of people with hearing loss and to identify the need for hearing aid use. In a cross-sectional study, a random sample of 1387 people aged 65 years and over was selected. The primary study variables were: hearing level by audiometric assessment, self-perceived hearing loss, screening for hypoacusia using the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly-Screening (HHIE-S) and physical, cognitive and emotional functional status. Using the HHIE-S it was determined that 11.3% of the subjects had severe hearing handicap. According to the Ventry/Weinstein criteria 43.6% had hearing handicap. When asked about the use of hearing aids, 4.5% of the study subjects said they used them, although 41.9% had hearing loss of 35 dB or more in their better ear. The variables associated with the need for a hearing aid were age >75 years (odds ratio=OR=3.2), ADL dependence (OR=2.7), cognitive impairment (OR=2.0), multiple health problems (OR=1.8), male sex (OR=1.6) and single/widowed (OR=1.5). In conclusion, there is a high prevalence of hearing loss associated with other functional limitations. Of those people who would benefit from a hearing aid (more than a third of people over 65 years old), 89.3% do not own one. The screening of hearing loss needs to be improved.

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