Objective: Hearing impairment is one of the major chronic illnesses in older adults. It is often neglected relative to decline of other physical functions. Hearing impairment, however, could cause significant impact on patients' mental health. The study is aimed to understand the association of depression syndromes and life satisfaction with hearing impairment in older Taiwanese.
Methods: A sample of 4927 subjects (≥50 years old) matched the selection criteria was collected from the 2003 dataset of “Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging”. Logistic Regression and Linear Regression were used to investigate the associations of depression syndromes and life satisfaction with hearing impairment, in which health condition, life style and sociodemographic variables were controlled.
Results: The prevalence of hearing impairment in older Taiwanese is about 7%. People who suffer from hearing impairment without hearing aid or with hearing aid but still cannot hear well are more likely to have depression symptom (OR=1.84, 95% CI=1.34-2.55, p<0.001) and lower life satisfaction (β=-0.60, p<0.001), compared to those who do not suffer from hearing impairment.
Conclusion: Age-related hearing loss is associated with depression syndromes and life satisfaction. We suggest older people or their caregivers check their hearing ability regularly. Once a loss of hearing occurs, seeking for medical treatments and hearing aids is necessary in order to eliminate the impact on their depression syndromes and life satisfaction.