Relating Hearing Aid Use to Social and Emotional Loneliness in Older Adults Purpose Hearing loss is a risk factor for social isolation and loneliness. We investigated the buffering effects of hearing aid use on perceived social and emotional loneliness. Method Forty older adults participated. Prior to and following the hearing aid fitting, participants completed the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 2016
Relating Hearing Aid Use to Social and Emotional Loneliness in Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Barbara E. Weinstein
    City University of New York, New York
  • Lynn W. Sirow
    Port Washington Hearing Center, City University of New York, New York
  • Sarah Moser
    Medical University of Graz, Austria
  • 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 Barbara E. Weinstein: bweinstein@gc.cuny.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 2016
Relating Hearing Aid Use to Social and Emotional Loneliness in Older Adults
American Journal of Audiology, March 2016, Vol. 25, 54-61. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0055
History: Received September 29, 2015 , Revised December 9, 2015 , Accepted December 22, 2015
 
American Journal of Audiology, March 2016, Vol. 25, 54-61. doi:10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0055
History: Received September 29, 2015; Revised December 9, 2015; Accepted December 22, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose Hearing loss is a risk factor for social isolation and loneliness. We investigated the buffering effects of hearing aid use on perceived social and emotional loneliness.

Method Forty older adults participated. Prior to and following the hearing aid fitting, participants completed the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale (De Jong Gierveld & Kamphuis, 1985); a change in feelings of loneliness following hearing aid use was the outcome indicator.

Results There was a significant decline in perceptions of loneliness following 4 to 6 weeks of hearing aid use. A dose effect emerged with persons with moderate-to-severe hearing loss experiencing the greatest reduction in perceived loneliness with hearing aid use.

Conclusion Associated with poorer health status and higher consumption of health care services, perceived loneliness is a challenge to treat. Hearing aid use appears to be a buffer against the experience of loneliness.

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