Hearing Loss, Control, and Demographic Factors Influencing Hearing Aid Use Among Older Adults Preference for non-use of hearing aids among older adults who are candidates for amplification remains to be explained. Clinical studies have examined the contribution of consumer attitudes, behaviors, and life circumstances to this phenomenon. The present study extends the interests of earlier investigators in that it examines psychological control tendencies ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1998
Hearing Loss, Control, and Demographic Factors Influencing Hearing Aid Use Among Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Dean C. Garstecki
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Susan F. Erler
    Northwestern University Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Dean C. Garstecki, PhD, Communication Sciences and Disorders Department, Northwestern University, 2299 North Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208-3550. Email: d-garstecki@nwu.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1998
Hearing Loss, Control, and Demographic Factors Influencing Hearing Aid Use Among Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 527-537. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.527
History: Received July 1, 1997 , Accepted January 5, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 527-537. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.527
History: Received July 1, 1997; Accepted January 5, 1998

Preference for non-use of hearing aids among older adults who are candidates for amplification remains to be explained. Clinical studies have examined the contribution of consumer attitudes, behaviors, and life circumstances to this phenomenon. The present study extends the interests of earlier investigators in that it examines psychological control tendencies in combination with hearing loss and demographic variables among older adults who elected to accept (adherents) or ignore (nonadherents) advice from hearing professionals to acquire and use hearing aids. One hundred thirty-one individuals participated by completing measures of hearing, hearing handicap, psychological control, depression, and ego strength. Participants were asked to provide demographic information and personal opinions regarding hearing aid use. Adherence group and gender differences were noted on measures of hearing sensitivity, psychological control, and demographic factors. Female adherents demonstrated greater hearing loss and poorer word recognition ability but less hearing handicap, higher internal locus of control, higher ego strength, and fewer depressive tendencies than female nonadherents. They reported demographic advantages. Female adherents assumed responsibility for effective communication. Although male adherents and nonadherents did not differ significantly demographically, male adherents were more accepting of their hearing loss, took responsibility for communication problems, and found hearing aids less stigmatizing. Implications for clinical practice and future clinical investigations are identified and discussed. Results are expected to be of interest to clinicians, clinical investigators, and health care policymakers.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge Steven Zecker, PhD, for assistance with psychological measures, statistical analysis, and data interpretation. This study was supported by a grant from The Retirement Research Foundation.
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