Hearing loss has a wide-ranging effect not only on older people’s ability to communicate, but also on their ability to move about and participate in different hobbies and activities. Studies conducted by researchers from the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Tampere in Finland show that also the movement of older people often is negatively affected as a result of their hearing loss.
Lower quality of life
One of the studies, which was conducted among a total of 848 men and women aged 75-90, showed that people who experienced hearing problems in different everyday situations moved less within their local area than those who considered their hearing to be good. During the two-year monitoring period, the people who were hard of hearing were more than twice as likely as others to limit their movement only to nearby areas.
“In our recent studies, we’ve observed that older people with hearing problems have more limited life space, and that these problems lower their quality of life,” says Doctoral Student Hannele Polku.
Hearing loss affect everyday life differently
“According to our study, audiometrically measured hearing alone is not a sufficient measure of how people experience their hearing problems and how these affect their everyday lives. For example, a person with many everyday social contacts and communication with others may feel that even a minor hearing loss may affect their everyday functioning. On the other hand, a person more inclined to enjoy domestic tasks carried out on one’s own doesn’t experience the same number of problems due to a change of similar degree in hearing,” Polku concludes.
The studies were published in Journal of Gerontology (2016) and BMC Geriatrics (2015) and are a part of the international project “Hearing, remembering and living well”.