Hearing Impairment as a Determinant of Function in the Elderly

Fred H. Bess, Michael J. Lichtenstein, Susan A. Logan, M. Candice Burger, Eugene Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


This clinical, practice‐based study explores the research question: Is there a relationship between hearing loss and functional disturbance in elderly patients? We analyzed the impact of hearing impairment on 153 patients over 65 years of age screened in primary care practice. Functional and psychosocial impairment were measured using the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP), a standardized measure for assessing sickness related dysfunction. Hearing level was determined with pure tone audiometry. Multiple linear regression was used to adjust for patient case‐mix differences and other clinical variables. After adjustment, a 10 dB increase in hearing loss was found to result in a 2.8 point increase in Physical SIP scores (95% confidence interval = 1.8–3.8), a 2.0 point increase in psychosocial SIP scores (95% confidence interval = 0.8–3.2) and a 1.3 point increase in overall SIP scores (95% confidence interval = 0.1–2.5). Poor hearing was associated with higher SIP scores and increased dysfunction. Thus, hearing impairment is an important determinant of function in the elderly. 1989 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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