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Volume 35 Number 4, October 1998
Pages 420-426

Characteristics associated with marginal hearing loss and subjective well-being among a sample of older adults

Marcia J. Scherer, PhD, MPH and D. Robert Frisina, PhD

Institute for Matching Person and Technology, Inc. 486 lake Road, Webster, NY 14580; International Center for Hearing and Speech Research, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623

Abstract--The influence of marginal hearing loss on subjective well-being was studied in order to assess the audiological rehabilitation needs of older individuals. Behavioral and audiological data were obtained from 40 subjects 61-81 years of age. Group A included 20 subjects with normal audiometric thresholds. Group B included 20 subjects with mild-to-moderate degrees of high-frequency hearing loss. Each subject completed a hearing loss screening survey, an Assistive Technology Device Predisposition Assessment (ATD PA) and a Profile of Hearing Aid Performance (PHAP). The PHAP and hearing loss screen were adequate assessments of self-reported hearing loss, as was the subjective rating of hearing section of the ATD PA. People with high-frequency marginal hearing loss reported less satisfaction with their independence, reduced emotional well-being, and more limitation from their hearing loss than those with normal hearing. It is concluded that marginal degrees of hearing loss in older persons can influence subjective well-being, which suggests the importance of a renewed emphasis on audiological rehabilitation for this population.

Key words: assessment, communication aids--hearing, psychosocial rehabilitation, quality of life.

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