Perception of quality of life for adults with hearing impairment in Aotearoa / New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
AIMS: This study investigated the perception of generic and disease-specific Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) for adults living with hearing impairment (HI) in Aotearoa/New Zealand (NZ). This study aimed to answer three questions: (1) What is the perception of HRQoL amongst adults with hearing impairment in NZ? (2) How do these perceptions compare to adults with HI living in other countries for which we have data? (3) What are the demographic and audiometric variables related to device ownership?
METHOD: HRQoL, demographic, and audiometric information was collected from 126 adults in NZ. The following demographic information was collected: age, relationship length, hours worked per week, income, ancestry, sex, level of education, city size, and sexual orientation. The following audiologic information was also collected: ownership of hearing aids (HA), ownership of hearing assistance technology (HAT), better-ear pure-tone average (BEPTA), worse-ear pure-tone average (WEPTA), and signal-to-noise ratio loss (SNR loss). HRQoL information was collected using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36; Ware & Sherbourne, 1992), and the Hearing Handicap Inventory (HHI) for both elderly (HHIE) and adults (HHIA; Ventry & Weinstein, 1982; Newman, Weinstein, Jacobson, & Hug, 1991). Variables discriminating HA and HAT owners from non-owners were also analysed.
RESULTS: The relationship between demographic variables and HRQoL scores revealed that only age and income were significant. Audiometric variables had significant relationships with disease-specific HRQoL scores, as well as HA and HAT ownership. Finally, disease-specific HRQoL scores and all audiometric variables differentiated HA owners from non- owners, but demographic variables did not. Generic HRQoL scores and all audiometric variables differentiated HAT owners from non-owners.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the negative impacts of HI on HRQoL as reported overseas are also present in NZ, and that not only do audiometric variables including SNR loss are related to HRQoL, but HRQoL is a significant predictor for HA and HAT ownership. Further QoL research is warranted amongst the HI population in NZ to identify and understand any causal relationships present amongst these variables. Furthermore, HRQoL instruments and a test of speech understanding in noise have been shown to provide additional meaningful information, and therefore clinicians might consider including them during consultation.