Hearing impairment and social isolation in the elderly

J Speech Hear Res. 1982 Dec;25(4):593-9. doi: 10.1044/jshr.2504.593.


This investigation was conducted to determine the relationship between hearing impairment and social isolation in a sample of community-based individuals over age 65. Each subject reported first noting a hearing loss after age 53. In all cases the hearing loss was insidious in onset and of unknown etiology. All subjects underwent a complete audiological evaluation. This included pure-tone testing, speech discrimination testing, and self-assessed hearing handicap. Further, responses were obtained to scales which measured quantitatively the degree of subjective and objective social isolation. Each of the correlations between the Objective and Subjective Social Isolation Scale scores and the audiologic variables was statistically significant. The audiologic measures were more strongly correlated with the subjective than with the objective isolation measures. The Hearing Measurement Scale (HMS) score explained the greatest and the W-22 score the smallest proportion of the variance in each of the isolation scale scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Hearing Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Isolation*
  • Speech Discrimination Tests