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Laryngoscope. 2017 Aug;127(8):1885-1889. doi: 10.1002/lary.26424. Epub 2017 Jan 6.

Change in loneliness after intervention with cochlear implants or hearing aids.

Author information

1
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
2
Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
3
Center on Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
4
University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
5
Departments of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Geriatric Medicine, Mental Health and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the impact of hearing aid (HA) and cochlear implant (CI) use on loneliness in adults.

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective observational cohort study.

METHODS:

One hundred and thirteen adults, aged ≥ 50 years, with postlingual hearing loss and receiving routine clinical care at a tertiary academic medical center, were evaluated with the University of California at Los Angeles Loneliness Scale before and 6 and 12 months after intervention with HAs or CIs. Change in score was assessed using linear mixed effect models adjusted for age; gender; education; and history of hypertension, diabetes, and smoking.

RESULTS:

Significant improvements in loneliness scores were observed in CI users from baseline to 6 months (-3.79 [95% confidence interval): -5.73, -1.85], P <.001) and baseline to 12 months (-3.26 [95% confidence interval: -5.66, -0.87], P =.007). We did not observe a significant improvement in loneliness scores in HA users from baseline to 6 months (-0.83 [95% confidence interval: -2.68, 1.02], P =.381) or baseline to 12 months (-0.34 [95% confidence interval: -2.77, -2.10], P = .007). The most substantial increases were observed in individuals with the lowest baseline scores.

CONCLUSION:

Treatment of hearing loss with CIs results in a significant reduction in loneliness symptoms. This improvement was not observed with HAs. We observed differential effects of treatment depending on the baseline loneliness score, with the greatest improvements observed in individuals with the most loneliness symptoms at baseline.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

2b. Laryngoscope, 127:1885-1889, 2017.

KEYWORDS:

Loneliness; cochlear implant; hearing aid; hearing impairment; mental health

PMID:
28059448
PMCID:
PMC5500450
DOI:
10.1002/lary.26424
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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