Hearing Loss and Cognitive-Communication Test Performance of Long-Term Care Residents With Dementia: Effects of Amplification Purpose The study aims were (a) to explore the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive-communication performance of individuals with dementia, and (b) to determine if hearing loss is accurately identified by long-term care (LTC) staff. The research questions were (a) What is the effect of amplification on cognitive-communication test performance ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2016
Hearing Loss and Cognitive-Communication Test Performance of Long-Term Care Residents With Dementia: Effects of Amplification
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tammy Hopper
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Susan E. Slaughter
    Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Bill Hodgetts
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
    Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Amberley Ostevik
    Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Carla Ickert
    Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Tammy Hopper: tammy.hopper@ualberta.ca
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers
    Associate Editor: Mitchell Sommers×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2016
Hearing Loss and Cognitive-Communication Test Performance of Long-Term Care Residents With Dementia: Effects of Amplification
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2016, Vol. 59, 1533-1542. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0135
History: Received April 10, 2015 , Revised October 22, 2015 , Accepted April 25, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2016, Vol. 59, 1533-1542. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-15-0135
History: Received April 10, 2015; Revised October 22, 2015; Accepted April 25, 2016

Purpose The study aims were (a) to explore the relationship between hearing loss and cognitive-communication performance of individuals with dementia, and (b) to determine if hearing loss is accurately identified by long-term care (LTC) staff. The research questions were (a) What is the effect of amplification on cognitive-communication test performance of LTC residents with early- to middle-stage dementia and mild-to-moderate hearing loss? and (b) What is the relationship between measured hearing ability and hearing ability recorded by staff using the Resident Assessment Instrument–Minimum Data Set 2.0 (RAI-MDS; Hirdes et al., 1999)?

Method Thirty-one residents from 5 long-term care facilities participated in this quasiexperimental crossover study. Residents participated in cognitive-communication testing with and without amplification. RAI-MDS ratings of participants' hearing were compared to audiological assessment results.

Results Participants' speech intelligibility index scores significantly improved with amplification; however, participants did not demonstrate significant improvement in cognitive-communication test scores with amplification. A significant correlation was found between participants' average pure-tone thresholds and RAI-MDS ratings of hearing, yet misclassification of hearing loss occurred for 44% of participants.

Conclusions Measuring short-term improvement of performance-based cognitive communication may not be the most effective means of assessing amplification for individuals with dementia. Hearing screenings and staff education remain necessary to promote hearing health for LTC residents.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR CIHR CGPPA 107858), awarded to Tammy Hopper, Susan E. Slaughter, and Bill Hodgetts.
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