Identifying hearing impairment and the associated impact on the quality of life among the elderly residing in retirement homes in Pretoria, South Africa

Samantha M. Govender*, Marguerite de Jongh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL) is the most widespread sensory disorder in the elderly. Poor audiological support within retirement homes is one of the fundamental issues impacting the Quality of Life (QoL). Objectives: The objectives of this study were to: (1) Identify the presence of hearing impairment through a hearing screening test battery in a sample of elderly participants residing in three retirement homes. (2) Determine the psychological, communication-related and social impact of the hearing impairment on the QoL in a sample of elderly participants residing in retirement homes. Method: A prospective cross-sectional research design with quantitative methods of data analysis was used to obtain data from 70 elderly participants (mean age = 79 years, 79% were female). Ten of them used hearing aids. Hearing screening was conducted using otoscopy, tympanometry and air conduction screening (500 Hz–4 kHz). The World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQoL) questionnaire was adapted and utilised for the present study. Results: Findings revealed that 77% of the sample obtained a refer result from the hearing screening protocol indicating a high presence of hearing impairment. Twenty-nine per cent (n = 16) of the participants felt depressed, worried and anxious because of their hearing loss and 20% of participants felt unaccepted by their significant others as a result of their hearing impairment. Hearing difficulties were significantly associated with a reduced QoL (p = 0.045). Eight of the 10 participants who wore hearing aids reported an overall improvement in QoL since receiving and utilising their hearing aids and 20% (n = 2) of hearing aid users reported challenges with maintaining their hearing aids. Conclusion: The findings of this study emphasised the need for an increased role for audiological services provided by audiologists within retirement homes, thereby contributing to an improved QoL.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera788
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalThe South African journal of communication disorders. Die Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir Kommunikasieafwykings
Volume68
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs)
  • Hearing impairment
  • Presbycusis
  • Pure tone audiometry (Pta)
  • Quality of life
  • Retirement homes

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