Adults With Hearing Loss Demonstrate Resilience During COVID-19 Pandemic: Applications for Postpandemic Services

Katherine Teece, Kristi Oeding, Peggy B Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has produced unique challenges for persons with hearing loss. There is a unique concern that adults with hearing loss may be more susceptible to isolation than adults with normal hearing. Purpose: This study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the well-being of older adults with and without hearing loss. Research Design: This was a longitudinal study with pre-COVID-19 and six mid-COVID-19 interviews, spanning from March 1, 2020, to October 31, 2020. Study Sample: The study enrolled 12 participants with hearing aids and 12 with cochlear implants aged 55–80 years that were compared to 18 age-matched adults with hearing within normal limits. Data Collection and Analysis: Surveys were completed to evaluate the impact of time alone and loneliness, social contact, depression, and the impact of masks on hearing. A mixed-effects statistical model was used to analyze each question. Results: Participants commonly reported stress and anxiety during monthly video calls. Adults with varying degrees of hearing loss reported decreased social interaction and increased stress during the pandemic, similar to the rates observed by participants with healthy hearing. Face coverings were commonly reported to affect the intelligibility of conversational speech. Participants with hearing loss found satisfactory methods for maintaining social connection during the pandemic that they hope will continue once restrictions ease fully. Conclusions: Participants from the hearing loss groups in this study were frustrated by challenges posed by facial masks and were resilient in their ability to cope with COVID-19 and found the use of technology to be helpful. Audiologists are encouraged to use these successful electronic means of connecting with their patients even after restrictions are fully lifted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-402
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Audiology
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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