Cynthia D. Mulrow, MD, MSc; Christine Aguilar, MD; James E. Endicott, PhD; Michael R. Tuley, PhD; Ramon Velez, MD, MSc; Walter S. Charlip, PhD; Mary C. Rhodes, MPH; Judith A. Hill, MD; Louis A. DeNino, PhD
Objective: To assess whether hearing aids improve the quality of life of elderly persons with hearing loss.
Setting: Primary care clinics at a Bureau of Veterans Affairs hospital.
Patients: One hundred and ninety-four elderly veterans who were identified as being hearing impaired from a screening survey involving 771 consecutive clinic patients. Of the original 194, 188 (97%) completed the trial.
Intervention: Subjects were randomly assigned to either receive a hearing aid (n = 95) or join a waiting list (n = 99).
Main Endpoints: A comprehensive battery of disease-specific and generic quality-of-life measures were administered at baseline, 6 weeks, and 4 months.
Measurements and Main Results: Persons assigned to the two groups were similar in age, ethnicity, education, marital status, occupation, and comorbid diseases. At baseline, 82% of subjects reported adverse effects on quality of life due to hearing impairment, and 24% were depressed. At follow-up, a significant change in score improvements for social and emotional function (34.0; 95% CI, 27.3 to 40.8; P < 0.0001), communication function (24.2; CI, 17.2 to 31.2; P < 0.0001), cognitive function (0.28; CI, 0.08 to 0.48; P = 0.008), and depression (0.80; CI, 0.09 to 1.51; P = 0.03) was seen in subjects who received hearing aids compared with those assigned to the waiting list. Six drop-outs (three per group), no crossovers, and no significant changes in cointerventions were seen. Average, self-reported, daily aid use in the hearing aid group was 8 hours.
Conclusion: Hearing loss is associated with important adverse effects on the quality of life of elderly persons, effects which are reversible with hearing aids.
Mulrow CD, Aguilar C, Endicott JE, Tuley MR, Velez R, Charlip WS, et al. Quality-of-Life Changes and Hearing Impairment: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. ;113:188–194. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-113-3-188
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1990;113(3):188-194.
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