Rehabilitation of older adults with hearing impairment: a critical review

J Aging Health. 2010 Mar;22(2):143-53. doi: 10.1177/0898264309352731. Epub 2010 Jan 7.


Objective: Hearing impairment, which affects both peripheral and central structures of the auditory system, is highly prevalent among older adults and has serious consequences both for the people with hearing impairment and for those around them. This article provides an updated overview of the rehabilitation of this population.

Methods: This article critically reviews the rehabilitation interventions available to older adults with hearing impairment: hearing aids, hearing assistance technology, and communication programs.

Results: Current evidence suggests positive outcomes of similar magnitude for the three rehabilitation interventions, however their availability/uptake and adherence are suboptimal.

Discussion: To improve the current situation, two changes to practice are warranted. First, availability of the range of rehabilitation interventions should be improved. Second, in accordance with the self-management of other chronic health conditions, older adults with hearing impairment should be invited to be actively involved in their rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Correction of Hearing Impairment / methods*
  • Hearing Aids*
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Presbycusis / epidemiology
  • Presbycusis / rehabilitation
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Self-Help Devices
  • Treatment Outcome