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Soz Praventivmed. 2001;46(5):335-43.

The impact of hearing disability on well-being and health.

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Center for Operational Research in Public Health, Unit of Epidemiology, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Brussels.



The aim of the paper is to assess the significance of hearing disability as a public health problem through its association with multiple negative health outcomes: subjective health perception, mental health and social well-being.


The data come from the participants of the 1997 national health survey in Belgium, who were 15 years and older (n = 8,560). The presence and severity of the hearing disability was estimated through self-reporting. The association of hearing disability with the studied health outcomes was assessed using logistic regression while controlling for confounding factors such as age, sex, co-morbidity and socio-economic status.


The prevalence of hearing disability is 7% in the population 15 years and older. The prevalence of subjective ill health (Odds Ratio (OR): 1.32), mental ill health (OR: 1.51), and a low appreciation of the social contacts (OR: 1.73) was higher in subjects with hearing disability. No association was found between hearing disability and the frequency of social contacts or with the functional content of the social contacts.


Given the health and social consequences of hearing disability, increased public health attention, including both strategies for prevention, for identification and treatment, is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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