Self-Assessed Hearing Handicap in Older Adults With Poorer-Than-Predicted Speech Recognition in Noise Purpose Even older adults with relatively mild hearing loss report hearing handicap, suggesting that hearing handicap is not completely explained by reduced speech audibility. Method We examined the extent to which self-assessed ratings of hearing handicap using the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly (HHIE; Ventry & Weinstein, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2017
Self-Assessed Hearing Handicap in Older Adults With Poorer-Than-Predicted Speech Recognition in Noise
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark A. Eckert
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
  • Lois J. Matthews
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
  • Judy R. Dubno
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
  • 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 Mark A. Eckert: eckert@musc.edu
  • Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray
    Editor: Nancy Tye-Murray×
  • Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts
    Associate Editor: Todd Ricketts×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2017
Self-Assessed Hearing Handicap in Older Adults With Poorer-Than-Predicted Speech Recognition in Noise
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 251-262. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-16-0011
History: Received January 11, 2016 , Revised June 9, 2016 , Accepted July 7, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 251-262. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-H-16-0011
History: Received January 11, 2016; Revised June 9, 2016; Accepted July 7, 2016

Purpose Even older adults with relatively mild hearing loss report hearing handicap, suggesting that hearing handicap is not completely explained by reduced speech audibility.

Method We examined the extent to which self-assessed ratings of hearing handicap using the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly (HHIE; Ventry & Weinstein, 1982) were significantly associated with measures of speech recognition in noise that controlled for differences in speech audibility.

Results One hundred sixty-two middle-aged and older adults had HHIE total scores that were significantly associated with audibility-adjusted measures of speech recognition for low-context but not high-context sentences. These findings were driven by HHIE items involving negative feelings related to communication difficulties that also captured variance in subjective ratings of effort and frustration that predicted speech recognition. The average pure-tone threshold accounted for some of the variance in the association between the HHIE and audibility-adjusted speech recognition, suggesting an effect of central and peripheral auditory system decline related to elevated thresholds.

Conclusion The accumulation of difficult listening experiences appears to produce a self-assessment of hearing handicap resulting from (a) reduced audibility of stimuli, (b) declines in the central and peripheral auditory system function, and (c) additional individual variation in central nervous system function.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported (in part) by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant P50 DC 000422 (awarded to Judy R. Dubno), Medical University of South Carolina Center for Biomedical Imaging, South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute, and National Institutes of Health/National Center for Research Resources Grant UL1 RR029882 (awarded to K. T. Brady). This investigation was conducted in a facility constructed with support from Research Facilities Improvement Program Grant C06 RR14516 (awarded to R. K. Crouch) from the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health.
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