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Int J Audiol. 2015;54(11):838-44. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2015.1059503. Epub 2015 Jul 3.

Hearing-aid use and long-term health outcomes: Hearing handicap, mental health, social engagement, cognitive function, physical health, and mortality.

Author information

1
a * School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester , UK.
2
b Population Health Sciences School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin , Madison , USA.
3
c Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin , Madison , USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To clarify the impact of hearing aids on mental health, social engagement, cognitive function, and physical health outcomes in older adults with hearing impairment.

DESIGN:

We assessed hearing handicap (hearing handicap inventory for the elderly; HHIE-S), cognition (mini mental state exam, trail making, auditory verbal learning, digit-symbol substitution, verbal fluency, incidence of cognitive impairment), physical health (SF-12 physical component, basic and instrumental activities of daily living, mortality), social engagement (hours per week spent in solitary activities), and mental health (SF-12 mental component) at baseline, five years prior to baseline, and five and 11 years after baseline.

STUDY SAMPLE:

Community-dwelling older adults with hearing impairment (N = 666) from the epidemiology of hearing loss study cohort.

RESULTS:

There were no significant differences between hearing-aid users and non-users in cognitive, social engagement, or mental health outcomes at any time point. Aided HHIE-S was significantly better than unaided HHIE-S. At 11 years hearing-aid users had significantly better SF-12 physical health scores (46.2 versus 41.2; p = 0.03). There was no difference in incidence of cognitive impairment or mortality.

CONCLUSION:

There was no evidence that hearing aids promote cognitive function, mental health, or social engagement. Hearing aids may reduce hearing handicap and promote better physical health.

KEYWORDS:

Hearing aids; activities of daily living; cognitive function; hearing impairment; mental health; social engagement

PMID:
26140300
PMCID:
PMC4730911
DOI:
10.3109/14992027.2015.1059503
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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