Hearing handicap, rather than measured hearing impairment, predicts poorer quality of life over 10 years in older adults

Gopinath, Bamini, Schneider, Julie, Hickson, Louise, McMahon, Catherine M., Burlutsky, George, Leeder, Stephen R. and Mitchell, Paul (2012) Hearing handicap, rather than measured hearing impairment, predicts poorer quality of life over 10 years in older adults. Maturitas, 72 2: 146-151. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.03.010

Author Gopinath, Bamini
Schneider, Julie
Hickson, Louise
McMahon, Catherine M.
Burlutsky, George
Leeder, Stephen R.
Mitchell, Paul
Title Hearing handicap, rather than measured hearing impairment, predicts poorer quality of life over 10 years in older adults
Journal name Maturitas   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-5122
Publication date 2012-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.03.010
Volume 72
Issue 2
Start page 146
End page 151
Total pages 6
Place of publication Shannon, Co. Clare Ireland
Publisher Elsevier Ireland
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
We aimed to determine the prospective association between measured hearing impairment, self-reported hearing handicap and hearing aid use with quality of life.

Study design:
829 Blue Mountains Hearing Study participants (≥55 years) were examined between 1997-1999 and 2007-2009. The shortened version of the hearing handicap inventory was administered. Hearing levels were measured using pure-tone audiometry. Quality of life was assessed using the 36-Item Short-Form Survey (SF-36); higher scores reflect better quality of life.


Hearing impairment at baseline compared with no impairment was associated with lower mean SF-36 mental composite score 10 years later (multivariable-adjusted p = 0.03). Physical composite score and mean scores for seven of the eight SF-36 domains after 10-year follow-up were significantly lower among participants who self-reported hearing handicap at baseline. Differences in the adjusted means between participants with and without hearing handicap ranged from 2.7 (physical composite score) to 10.4 units ('role limitations due to physical problems' domain). Individuals who developed incident hearing impairment compared to those who did not, had adjusted mean scores 9.5- and 7.7-units lower in the 'role limitation due to physical problems', and 'bodily pain' domains, respectively, at the 10-year follow-up. Hearing aid users versus non-users at baseline showed a 1.82-point (p = 0.03) and 3.32-point (p = 0.01) increase in SF-36 mental composite score and mental health domain over the 10-year follow-up, respectively.

Older adults with self-perceived hearing handicap constitute a potential risk group for overall deterioration in quality of life, while hearing aid use could help improve the well-being of hearing impaired adults.
Keyword Age-related hearing loss
Blue Mountains Hearing Study
Blue Mountains Eye Study
Hearing handicap
Hearing aid
Quality of life
Blue Mountains Hearing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 19 April 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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