Self-perceived hearing handicap and hearing sensitivity in nursing home elderlies

Maria Beatriz Baruzzi, Alda Christina Lopes de Carvalho Borges, Miriam Ikeda Ribeiro, Fabio Nasri
2009 Einstein (São Paulo)  
Objectives: To identify hearing sensitivity and self-perceived handicap and their relation. Methods: Schooling, dependence for daily activities and auditory complaints were investigated in 79 nursing home elderly subjects, male and female, aged from 66 to 100 years. All underwent basic hearing evaluation and answered a self-assessment scale (HHIE-S). Rresults: Mean schooling was of 8.3 years. Thirty-one subjects (39.3%) were classified as independent, 43 (54.4%) as semi-dependent and 5 (6.3%)
more » ... dependent. Fifty-eight (73.4%) subjects had complaints concerning their hearing. Only 25.3% demonstrated normal hearing for low and medium frequencies, and 8.9% and 7.6% for high frequencies on the right and left ears, respectively. Hearing loss for low and medium frequencies was mild, while that for high frequencies was moderate. The great majority of subjects (64.6%) did not demonstrate hearing handicap as evaluated by the HHIE-S. Cconclusions: Hearing loss without self-perceived hearing handicap was prevalent in the group and these aspects were highly associated, that is, the worse the hearing sensitivity, more evident the handicap. The development of hearing loss is usually slow and only perceived when affecting the entire frequency range, leading to difficulties in social integration and lack of motivation in maintaining interpersonal relations, strengthening the social barriers and demonstrating the importance of the audiologist in these institutions.
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