Cognitive and Psychosocial Associations of Hearing Loss in Older Adults
AuthorMoseley, Suzanne Alana
electronically activated recorder (EAR)
AdvisorGlisky, Elizabeth L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCognitive and psychosocial associations of hearing loss continue to surface in hearing science and psychology literature. The aim of this study was to further explore these relations using a comprehensive battery of hearing and listening, cognitive, and psychosocial measures. Fifty-one, community-dwelling older adults (65+ years) with a range of hearing ability completed a battery of tests. Hearing and listening abilities were assessed using pure-tone audiometry, three measures of speech perception, and self-report questionnaires. Cognitive tests included measures of memory, working memory, executive functioning, language, and processing speed. Self-report measures included hearing-specific disability measures as well as general measures of loneliness, depression, and social network. An ambulatory recording device, the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), was used to objectively measure aspects of quality and quantity of social interaction. Results demonstrated that measures of speech perception were significantly and positively associated with cognitive measures in multiple domains, including executive function, memory, and processing speed, with speech perception in noise showing the most robust associations after controlling for age. Poorer speech perception was significantly associated with a greater amount of communication breakdowns, an EAR-derived measure of quality of social interaction, and marginally significantly associated with more objectively-measured time spent alone. Poorer speech perception was also more robustly associated with hearing-specific disability measures than general measures of psychosocial health. The present study found that greater hearing loss was associated with poorer performance on various measures of cognition as well as lower psychosocial functioning, as measured by the EAR and self-report. The consequences of hearing loss extend beyond difficulties in communication and warrant further scientific investigation as our population ages.
Degree ProgramGraduate College