Audiological Outcomes for Adults with a Mild Hearing Impairment
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
A hearing impairment is one of the three leading causes of disability worldwide. It is estimated that 600 million people around the world have a hearing impairment, which affects their communication abilities, causes them to feel isolated and depressed, and impacts their economic situation. Because a decrease in the ability to hear is associated with getting older and life expectancy is increasing, the number of hearing impaired individuals is expected to increase. Much of the current research on adults with a hearing impairment focusses on a disabling hearing impairment, which is a loss of at least 40 dB HL or worse in the better ear. The research on a mild hearing impairment is predominantly focussed on children, specifically on educational effects. The aims of this study were to identify demographic, audiometric and quality of life differences between adults with a mild hearing impairment who adopt hearing aids and those who choose not to adopt hearing aids, and to measure clinical outcomes for adults with a mild hearing impairment who adopt hearing aids. Two groups of clients with a mild hearing impairment were compared. One group consisted of hearing aid adopters whilst the other group consisted of non-adopters. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of demographic variables, such as age, gender or working status, or objective audiometric variables. We found a statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of subjective audiometric variables. Hearing aid adopters rated their hearing impairment worse than the non-adopters and were more inclined to change their current situation than the non-adopters. In addition, the adopters showed significant clinical improvement after wearing their hearing aids for an extended period of time.