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Second Biennial Hearing Aid Research and Development Conference

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September 22-24, 1997
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Long Term Health Consequences of Hearing Aid Utilization

Carl C. Crandell, Patricia Kricos, and Wayne King, University of Florida

The communicative sequelae of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) has been well documented. Less attention has been focused, however, on the effects of SNHL on emotional and physical well being. Recent evidence has suggested a relationship between hearing impairment and psychosocial/functional health status. Specifically, a review of literature suggests that persons with SNHL tend to exhibit a higher incidence of psychosocial deficits (i.e., depression, withdrawal, isolation) and health-related difficulties (i.e., hypertension, ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, and osteoarthritis). The present discussion will address: (1) the relationship between hearing impairment and psychosocial/ functional health status; and (2) the effects of hearing aid utilization and/or auditory rehabilitation on psychosocial and functional health-related disorders. In particular, the results of a longitudinal investigation examining functional health status and hearing aid utilization will be addressed. Implications of these data for heath care management, hearing aid selection, and auditory rehabilitation procedures, will be discussed.

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