Clinical Interventions in Aging 2012:7
Quality of life after rehabilitation
with hearing aids
The beneﬁts and satisfaction of using hearing aids among
hearing-impaired elderly people have been explored in some
Joore and colleagues
demonstrated that new hearing
aid users experienced less anxiety and depression following
hearing aid use. Mulrow et al
also reported a reduction in
depression among hearing aid users, as measured by a geriat-
ric depression scale.
In addition, Joore et al
and Stark and
reported improvements in selected domain scores
on the SF-36 as a result of hearing aid use.
In a large, multi-site study, McArdle et al
tered both generic and hearing-related QoL measures to
380 participants randomized into experimental (immediate
hearing aid treatment) and control (delayed hearing aid
treatment) groups. Hearing aids were shown to improve
both generic and hearing-related QoL domains, although
the improvement in QoL was stronger as measured by the
Reductions in both emotional and social consequences of
hearing loss after wearing hearing aids have been measured
by the HHIE in some studies.
Particularly in their meta-
analysis, Chisolm et al
showed that hearing aids improved
adults’ HHIE scores by reducing the psychological, social,
and emotional effects of hearing loss.
Cox et al
investigated different types of hearing aids and their impact
on QoL, concluding that programmable hearing aids provide
the most efﬁcient effects.
Only a few studies have focused on the effects of restor-
ing binaural hearing and consequences for QoL. It has been
demonstrated that binaural hearing aid wearers may beneﬁt
from the ability of the central auditory system to integrate
binaural information and enjoy beneﬁts such as binaural loud-
ness summation, difference in masking level, localization,
and elimination of head-shadow.
It has been reported
that, globally, about 80% of patients with severe, bilateral
hearing loss wear hearing aids binaurally; therefore, patients
with symmetric hearing loss should be more comfortable
with binaural hearing aids.
Finally, looking at cost-effectiveness analysis, Joore et al
reported that using a hearing aid and returning hearing-
impaired people to an ordinary lifestyle is cost effective.
addition, Chao and Chen
stated that, for hearing-impaired
elderly people, the use of hearing aids can be considered a
cost-effective strategy for rehabilitation.
Based on the
average gain in hearing-related QoL, the outcome per year
after the intervention could range from €1333 to €3889.
Different degrees of hearing loss, successful rates of hearing
aid use, and rates of satisfaction with hearing aid use are main
factors that affect this estimate.
Presbycusis is a complex disease, with a controversial phys-
iopathology, which is inﬂuenced by genetic, environmental,
and medical factors. It is an increasingly important public
health problem that can lead to reduced quality of life, isola-
tion, dependence, and frustration.
In the near future, it will be necessary to improve our
knowledge of this condition and its physiopathology, in an
attempt to remediate its progression. In addition, it will be
of great importance to improve methods of identifying indi-
viduals with presbycusis and deteriorating QoL, thus improv-
ing services for providing hearing aids, assistive listening
devices, and auditory rehabilitation. Identifying individuals
with hearing loss, supplying appropriate hearing aids or other
listening devices, and teaching coping strategies may have a
positive impact on the quality of life of older people.
The authors report no conﬂicts of interest in this work.
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