No Association Between Time of Onset of Hearing Loss (Childhood Versus Adulthood) and Self-Reported Hearing Handicap in Adults Purpose This study examined the association between time of onset of hearing loss (childhood vs. adulthood) and self-reported hearing handicap in adults. Methods This is a population-based cohort study of 2,024 adults (mean = 48 years) with hearing loss (binaural pure-tone average 0.5–4 kHz ≥ 20 dB HL) ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2015
No Association Between Time of Onset of Hearing Loss (Childhood Versus Adulthood) and Self-Reported Hearing Handicap in Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lisa Aarhus
    Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  • Kristian Tambs
    Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  • Bo Engdahl
    Division of Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  • 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 Lisa Aarhus: Lisa.Aarhus@me.com
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2015
No Association Between Time of Onset of Hearing Loss (Childhood Versus Adulthood) and Self-Reported Hearing Handicap in Adults
American Journal of Audiology, December 2015, Vol. 24, 549-556. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0038
History: Received June 26, 2015 , Revised September 14, 2015 , Accepted September 25, 2015
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2015, Vol. 24, 549-556. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0038
History: Received June 26, 2015; Revised September 14, 2015; Accepted September 25, 2015

Purpose This study examined the association between time of onset of hearing loss (childhood vs. adulthood) and self-reported hearing handicap in adults.

Methods This is a population-based cohort study of 2,024 adults (mean = 48 years) with hearing loss (binaural pure-tone average 0.5–4 kHz ≥ 20 dB HL) who completed a hearing handicap questionnaire. In childhood, the same persons (N = 2,024) underwent audiometry in a school investigation (at ages 7, 10, and 13 years), in which 129 were diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss (binaural pure-tone average 0.5–4 kHz ≥ 20 dB HL), whereas 1,895 had normal hearing thresholds.

Results Hearing handicap was measured in adulthood as the sum-score of various speech perception and social impairment items (15 items). The sum-score increased with adult hearing threshold level (p < .001). After adjustment for adult hearing threshold level, hearing aid use, adult age, sex, and socioeconomic status, there was no significant difference in hearing handicap sum-score between the group with childhood-onset hearing loss (n = 129) and the group with adult-onset hearing loss (n = 1,895; p = .882).

Conclusion Self-reported hearing handicap in adults increased with hearing threshold level. After adjustment for adult hearing threshold level, this cohort study revealed no significant association between time of onset of hearing loss (childhood vs. adulthood) and self-reported hearing handicap.

Acknowledgments
The study was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Bethesda, MD, Research Contract N01-DC-6–2104, awarded to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. This study was also supported by a grant from the Extra Foundation: Health and Rehabilitation, Oslo, Norway, project number 2012/FOM9336, awarded to The National Association of Hard of Hearing member organization. We are grateful to the late H. M. Fabritius and to the regional health authority (Helse Nord-Trøndelag), Namsos Hospital, and Eskil Bjørgan for making the School Hearing Investigation in Nord-Trøndelag data available to us. The HUNT study is a collaboration between the HUNT Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine; the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Verdal; the Norwegian Institute of Public Health; and the Nord-Trøndelag County Council. The Nord-Trøndelag county health officer and the community health officers in Levanger and other municipalities provided organizational and other practical support. We also thank the Nord-Trøndelag Hearing Loss Study team for their diligence. The Nord-Trøndelag Hearing Loss Study, which is a part of HUNT, was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Contract N01-DC-6–2104. The authors report no conflict of interest. This submission complies with the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors authorship definition. The study has been approved by the Norwegian Regional Committee of Medical Ethics and by the Norwegian Data Inspectorate and complies with the established Public Health Code of Ethics of the American Health Association. The study includes only participants who signed an informed consent.
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