Hearing aids: Quality of life and socio-economic aspects

Hippokratia 2007, 11(4):183-186

E. Tsakiropoulou, I. Konstantinidis, I. Vital, S. Konstantinidou, A. Kotsani


Objective: Hearing loss can significantly impair patient’s quality of life, affecting communicative behavior, emotional and social function. This study assesses the impact of hearing aids on the quality of life of patients in a rural area and its correlation with socio-economic factors.
Materials – methods: Thirty patients (18 male, 12 female), with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss of variable etiology, using hearing aid for at least five years, were enrolled in this study. Mean age of subjects was 74 years. This study used the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI) to quantify the changes in quality of life. Patients were divided in above and below criterion group. The criterion used was the median of the air contaction threshold improvement. The binaural use and the type of hearing aids were recorded and correlated with the type of social security service of patients.Results: E ighty per cent of patients reported significant benefit from the hearing aid use. The majority of patients (90%) used one hearing aid (mean GBI total score 35) and only 10% had binaural hearing aid (mean GBI total score 45). The majority of patients used analog hearing aid (56.5%) while 43.5% used digital hearing aid. Interestingly, it was found that patients did not attend appointments for hearing aids maintenance with a mean follow up of 2.5 years.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates a trend of better quality of life for patients with bilateral hearing loss and binaural hearing aid use. The type of hearing aid is related to the funding from their social security service. Therefore more patients are using analog hearing aids, as they are less expensive than the digital hearing aids.

Keywords: hearing aid, quality of life, socioeconomic aspects

Correspoding author: Konstantinidis I, 3 P.Tsaldari Str, Neapoli, Thessaloniki, PoBox: 56727, tel: 0030-6973229525, e-mail: jokons57@hotmail.com