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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    ABSTRACT: This article reports a study exploring what older people believe would enable them to adjust to and gain maximum benefit from wearing a hearing aid. A mixed methods approach was employed during 2006 involving interviews with key stakeholders, a survey across three Scottish health board areas and focus groups. Nine key stakeholders from six national and local organisations were interviewed about the needs of older people being fitted with hearing aids. In total, 240 older people belonging to three different types of hearing impaired older people were surveyed: long-term users of hearing aids, new hearing aid users, and those on a waiting list from urban and rural areas (response rate = 24%). A series of eight follow-up focus groups with 31 audiology patients was held. Health professionals appeared to neglect appropriate provision of information and overly rely on technological interventions. Of 154 older people already fitted with hearing aids, only 52% of hearing aid users reported receiving enough practical help post fitting and only 41% reported receiving enough support. Approximately 40% reported not feeling confident in the use of their aids or their controls. Older people wanted more information than they received both before and after hearing aid fitting. Information provision and attention to the psychosocial aspects of care are key to enabling older people to adjust and optimise hearing aid benefit.
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To determine whether hearing impairment, defined by using objective audiometry, is associated with multiple categories of self-reported physical functioning in a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of older adults.DesignMultivariate secondary analysis of cross-sectional data.SettingThe 2005–06 and 2009–10 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.ParticipantsAdults aged 70 and older who completed audiometric testing (N = 1,669).MeasurementsHearing was measured using pure-tone audiometry. Physical functioning was assessed using a structured interview.ResultsIn a model adjusted for age and demographic and cardiovascular risk factors, greater hearing impairment (per 25 dB hearing level (HL)) was associated with greater odds of physical disability in activities of daily living (odds ratio (OR) = 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.1–1.9), instrumental activities of daily living (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.2–2.2), leisure and social activities (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1–2.0), lower extremity mobility (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1–1.7), general physical activities (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1–1.6), work limitation (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.0–1.9), walking limitation (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.3–2.0), and limitation due to memory or confusion (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.1–1.8). Hearing impairment was not associated with limitations in amount or type of work done (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.0–1.6).Conclusion Hearing impairment in older adults is independently associated with greater disability and limitations in multiple self-reported categories of physical functioning.
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