Reduction in Caregiver-Identified Problem Behaviors in Patients With Alzheimer Disease Post-Hearing-Aid Fitting Studies and clinical procedures related to patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) largely have ignored the hearing ability of either the patient or caregiver. Yet the majority of treatment and investigation depends on or presupposes communication ability. Further, caregiver complaints often center around communication-based issues. Hearing deficits may be the most ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 1999
Reduction in Caregiver-Identified Problem Behaviors in Patients With Alzheimer Disease Post-Hearing-Aid Fitting
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Catherine V. Palmer
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sheneekra W. Adams
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Michelle Bourgeois
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • John Durrant
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Michelle Rossi
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Contact author: Catherine Palmer, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Communication Science and Disorders, 4033 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.
    Contact author: Catherine Palmer, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Communication Science and Disorders, 4033 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: cvp@vms.cis.pitt.edu
  • * Currently affiliated with House Ear Clinic, Los Angeles, CA.
    Currently affiliated with House Ear Clinic, Los Angeles, CA.×
  • ** Currently affiliated with Florida State University, Tallahassee.
    Currently affiliated with Florida State University, Tallahassee.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 1999
Reduction in Caregiver-Identified Problem Behaviors in Patients With Alzheimer Disease Post-Hearing-Aid Fitting
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1999, Vol. 42, 312-328. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4202.312
History: Received January 20, 1998 , Accepted November 23, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1999, Vol. 42, 312-328. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4202.312
History: Received January 20, 1998; Accepted November 23, 1998

Studies and clinical procedures related to patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) largely have ignored the hearing ability of either the patient or caregiver. Yet the majority of treatment and investigation depends on or presupposes communication ability. Further, caregiver complaints often center around communication-based issues. Hearing deficits may be the most frequently unrecognized condition in patients with AD because patients either communicate adequately in quiet or the impairment is masked by other behavioral symptoms of AD. The current investigation identified individuals with AD with perceived and measured hearing impairment, provided amplification management, and evaluated the impact of treatment on caregiver-identified problem behaviors believed to be related to hearing status. Specifically, treatment compliance (hearing-aid use) and treatment efficacy (reduction in perceived hearing handicap and problem behaviors) were measured in the current investigation. A multiple-baseline design across individuals with multiple dependent variables was used to evaluate the reduction of problem behaviors post-hearing-aid treatment. Eight participants were included and 1 to 4 problem behaviors were significantly reduced for each patient after hearing-aid treatment. All participants were able to complete the necessary evaluation for hearing-aid fitting and wore their hearing aids between 5 and 15 hours per day by the end of the study. This investigation employed novel methodology in the areas of on-site hearing evaluation and hearing-aid selection, advanced hearing-aid technology, and primary data recording of caregiver-identified problem behaviors by caregivers.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a grant from the National Association for Alzheimer Disease. We learned from the 10 families who participated in this research project, and we would like to thank them for welcoming us into their homes. Thanks to the individuals at the Alzheimer Disease Research Center, the Benedum Geriatric Center, the Alzheimer Association of Pittsburgh, and the Aging Research and Education Center of Lutheran Affiliated Services for their support of our recruiting efforts. Special thanks to Tamara Bauer and Barbara Palmer who shared their expertise in recruiting, retention, and home visiting. Thanks also to Larry Humes, Sandra Gordon-Salant, and two anonymous reviewers who assisted in editing this work.
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