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Keywords:

  • Dysphonia;
  • hearing loss;
  • quality of life;
  • prevalence

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

To determine the coprevalence of voice problems and hearing loss in the elderly, to assess whether hearing loss is a risk factor for dysphonia, and to evaluate the quality-of-life impact of dysphonia and hearing loss among the elderly.

Study Design:

Cross-sectional study of independent living residents in two retirement communities.

Methods:

Main outcome measures include prevalence of dysphonia and hearing loss, Voice Related Quality of Life (VRQOL), Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly–Screening Version (HHIE-S), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Relationships between continuous variables were analyzed with Spearman correlation, between categorical variables with chi-square, and between categorical and continuous variable with analysis of variance (ANOVA) on ranks.

Results:

A total of 248 residents responded with a mean age of 82.4 years. Of those, 19.8% had dysphonia, 50.0% had hearing loss, and 10.5% had both. Respondents with hearing loss were more likely to have dysphonia than those without hearing loss (odds ratio = 2.31, 95% confidence interval, 1.19-4.47). Worse VRQOL scores were associated with more impairment on the HHIE-S (Spearman correlation = −0.36, P < .001). Respondents with both dysphonia and hearing loss had greater depression scores than those with neither symptom (median CES-D score 13 vs. 8, P = .03, ANOVA on ranks, Dunn's method, P < .05).

Conclusions:

Voice problems and hearing loss are common in the elderly, adversely impact quality of life, and require simultaneous management. Laryngoscope, 2009