Hearing disability: a source of distress for older people and carers

Br J Nurs. 2002 Aug 8-Sep 11;11(15):1021-5. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2002.11.15.10529.


Many older people develop hearing disability: however, only a small proportion who would benefit from a hearing aid own one. Communication is a shared experience that can be substantially limited by hearing difficulty, so this lack of hearing aid provision is likely to affect both individuals and those around them. This study, a randomized, controlled trial, was designed to examine the influence of hearing aid provision on dependent older people and caring family members who lived together within multigeneration households. A total of 63 intervention families and 70 control group families participated in the trial. We found that hearing disability and handicap are related to reduced well-being and depression in older people, and in turn these are related to increased levels of carer distress. Of the 63 older people in the intervention group fitted with hearing aids, all but one was experiencing benefit at 6 months, although no changes in depression were detected. Hearing aids significantly reduced the carer's perception of related difficulties and was a welcome intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Hearing Disorders / complications*
  • Hearing Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*