Hearing Status in Older Persons: A Significant Determinant of Depression and Loneliness? Results From the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam Purpose In this study, the authors' aims were to (a) determine the longitudinal relationships between baseline hearing status and 4-year follow-up depression and loneliness in an older population and (b) investigate possible differences across subgroups in these relationships. Method The authors used data from 2 waves of the ... Research Forum
Research Forum  |   December 01, 2013
Hearing Status in Older Persons: A Significant Determinant of Depression and Loneliness? Results From the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marieke Pronk
    VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Dorly J. H. Deeg
    VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Sophia E. Kramer
    VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Marieke Pronk: m.pronk@vumc.nl
  • Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Forum
Research Forum   |   December 01, 2013
Hearing Status in Older Persons: A Significant Determinant of Depression and Loneliness? Results From the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam
American Journal of Audiology, December 2013, Vol. 22, 316-320. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/12-0069)
History: Received November 21, 2012 , Revised March 27, 2013 , Accepted April 3, 2013
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2013, Vol. 22, 316-320. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/12-0069)
History: Received November 21, 2012; Revised March 27, 2013; Accepted April 3, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 13

Purpose In this study, the authors' aims were to (a) determine the longitudinal relationships between baseline hearing status and 4-year follow-up depression and loneliness in an older population and (b) investigate possible differences across subgroups in these relationships.

Method The authors used data from 2 waves of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (4-year follow-up, baseline ages 63–93 years). Sample sizes were 996 (self-report analyses) and 830 (speech-in-noise test analyses). The authors used multiple linear regression analyses to assess the associations between baseline hearing status and 4-year follow-up of depression, social loneliness, and emotional loneliness. Hearing was measured by self-report and by a speech-in-noise test. Age, gender, hearing aid use, baseline depression or loneliness, and relevant confounders and effect modifiers were incorporated.

Results Both hearing measures showed significant associations with loneliness (p < .05), but these effects were confined to specific subgroups of older persons. For instance, adverse effects were confined to nonusers of hearing aids (self-report, social loneliness model) and men (self-report and speech-in-noise test, emotional-loneliness model). No significant effects appeared for depression.

Conclusion Significant adverse effects of poor hearing on loneliness were found for specific subgroups of older persons. In future research, investigators should further examine the subgroup effects observed. Eventually, this may contribute to the development of tailored prevention programs.

Acknowledgments
The data used in this study were derived from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, which is funded largely by the Dutch Ministry of Welfare, Health and Sports. The data presented in this brief report were previously reported in the International Journal of Audiology (“Prospective Effects of Hearing Status on Loneliness and Depression in Older Persons: Identification of Subgroups,” M. Pronk, D. J. H. Deeg, C. Smits, T. G. van Tilburg, D. J. Kuik, J. M. Festen, & S. E. Kramer, International Journal of Audiology,50, 887–896. Copyright 2011, British Society of Audiology, International Society of Audiology, and Nordic Audiological Society) and the Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie (“Slechter Gehoor bij Ouderen Leidt tot Meer Eenzaamheid, Maar Niet voor Iedereen” [Poorer Hearing in Older Persons Causes More Loneliness, But Not for Everyone], M. Pronk, S. E. Kramer, & D. J. H. Deeg, 2012, Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie [Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics], 43, 103–104). Parts of these data were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Boston, MA, November 2011.
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