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J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010 Oct;39(5):498-503.

Hearing impairment and depressive symptoms in an older chinese population.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.



To investigate the association of objectively measured hearing loss and depression in an older Chinese population.


Cross-sectional study.


Screening service provided to the elderly as part of a charity program in collaboration with a local group of medical and audiologic professionals.


A cross-sectional study was conducted on community-dwelling people aged 60 years or above using pure-tone audiometry in a soundproof environment together with a validated Cantonese version of the Geriatric Depression Scale. The association of hearing loss and depression, together with a number of predisposing factors, was examined with multivariate analysis. The effect of hearing aid use was investigated in some subjects.


The effect of both self-reported hearing impairment and objectively measured hearing loss on depressive symptoms, together with a number of predisposing factors, was examined with multivariate analysis.


Excluding those suffering from dementia, 914 people were included. Logistic regression showed that the main predicting factors of depression were poor self-perceived health, measured hearing loss, and female gender. Measured hearing loss gave an odds ratio of 1.649 (95% CI 1.048-2.595). The association of self-reported hearing loss with depression was shown in univariate analysis but not in multivariate analysis. Hearing aid use showed a tendency toward reducing depressive symptom scores.


There is an independent association between depression and measured hearing loss in older Chinese but not between depression and self-reported hearing loss. Self-reported hearing impairment should not replace audiometry in estimating risks of hearing impairment. The use of hearing aids could improve the general well-being of our older population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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