Elderly admit hearing loss but not its effects
The stigma attached to hearing loss among the elderly may be diminishing, according to a study conducted by the University of Florida. The study found that a majority of the respondents readily admitted their hearing loss, although most still denied the strain it creates for themselves and others.
Specifically, 62 percent of the participants in the study admitted their hearing loss. The statement by another 33 percent that they did not suffer from hearing loss was confirmed in subsequent hearing tests. Only 5 percent had a hearing loss and denied it.
While many of the study's participants acknowledged their hearing loss, however, they reported that it had no other effect on them, including in their relationships with friends or family, according to Patricia Kricos, professor of communication sciences and disorders who led the research.
Kricos sees the apparent willingness among the elderly to recognize their hearing loss as an indication of an emerging change in attitude about aging. The elderly of today, she feels, would rather acknowledge and treat the problem than have it interfere with the wide range of activities in which they are involved.
"We are going to see it even more with this new generation of baby boomers coming up," she added, referring to the large American generation born in the aftermath of World War II. "They are not going to be content to sit on the front porch and watch the world go by."
In all, 91 elderly people recruited among nursing home residents in Florida who have never used hearing aids, answered questionnaires and had hearing tests as part of the study.
Source: Ascribe Newswire, December 17, 2003.