Impact Of Age-related Hearing Loss
Hearing impairment affects the quality of life for older individuals. The principle effects are related to the social and emotional impact of communication difficulties resulting from significant hearing loss (Mulrow et al.). Anecdotal reports of an association between dementia and hearing loss, or between depression and hearing loss, have not been replicated in well-controlled studies with large samples.
Older men and women adjust differently to their hearing loss. Women admit communication problems more often than men and assign greater importance to effective communication than men (Garstecki and Erler). This finding could be associated with differences in marital status between older men and women; older women are more likely to be widowed and thus rely to a greater extent on social interactions outside of the family. Men appear to adjust better to their hearing loss, as reflected by fewer reports of anger and stress associated with their hearing loss compared to reports of women. On the other hand, older men have a higher rate of denial of negative emotional reactions related to their hearing loss than women.