Objective: To evaluate health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in hearing-impaired adolescents and children and to compare it with that of hearing individuals.
Study design and setting: Hearing-impaired adolescents and children were recruited to the study during their annual control visit to the Hearing Clinic of Helsinki University Hospital. They filled in a HRQoL questionnaire, either the 16-dimensional 16D (adolescents aged 12-17 years) or the 17-dimensional 17D (children aged 7-11 years). The total HRQoL scores were compared with previously collected data, matched for age and gender, from adolescents and children without any known handicaps or illnesses.
Results: In total 50 adolescents and 50 children completed the questionnaire. Of the 16/17 dimensions of the HRQoL instrument, hearing and communication were affected the most. The total HRQoL scores were somewhat lower in adolescents and children with hearing impairment than in the general populations of age-matched peers (p < .001 for adolescents and .030 for children).
Conclusions: HRQoL in hearing-impaired adolescents and children is only slightly worse than in hearing adolescents and children.
Significance: This study evaluates the impact of hearing loss on HRQoL to enhance the care of these children.
Keywords: Hearing loss; adolescents; children; quality of life.