Quality-of-life changes and hearing impairment: A randomized trial

C. D. Mulrow, C. Aguilar, J. E. Endicott, M. R. Tuley, R. Velez, W. S. Charlip, M. C. Rhodes, J. A. Hill, L. A. DeNino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

501 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess whether hearing aids improve the quality of life of elderly persons with hearing loss. Setting: Primary care clinics at a Bureau of Veterans Affairs hospital. Patients: One hundred and ninety-four elderly veterans who were identified as being hearing impaired from a screening survey involving 771 consecutive clinic patients. Of the original 194, 188 (97%) completed the trial. Intervention: Subjects were randomly assigned to either receive a hearing aid (n = 95) or join a waiting list (n = 99). Main Endpoints: A comprehensive battery of disease-specific and generic quality-of-life measures were administered at baseline, 6 weeks, and 4 months. Measurements and Main Results: Persons assigned to the two groups were similar in age, ethnicity, education, marital status, occupation, and comorbid diseases. At baseline, 82% of subjects reported adverse effects on quality of life due to hearing impairment, and 24% were depressed. At follow-up, a significant change in score improvements for social and emotional function (34.0; 95% CI, 27.3 to 40.8; P < 0.0001), communication function (24.2; CI, 17.2 to 31.2; P < 0.0001), cognitive function (0.28; CI, 0.08 to 0.48; P = 0.008), and depression (0.80; CI, 0.09 to 1.51; P = 0.03) was seen in subjects who received hearing aids compared with those assigned to the waiting list. Six drop-outs (three per group), no crossovers, and no significant changes in cointerventions were seen. Average, self-reported, daily aid use in the hearing aid group was 8 hours. Conclusion: Hearing loss is associated with important adverse effects on the quality of life of elderly persons, effects which are reversible with hearing aids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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