Hearing impairment in older adults is associated with psychological and social difficulties. The goal of hearing aid fitting is to reduce the perceived handicap resulting from the hearing loss. Measures of self-perceived handicap are being increasingly incorporated into the clinicians armamentarium as an objective measure of the outcome of intervention. Eighteen elderly hearing-impaired males and their spouses responded to the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly (HHIE) prior to and following 1 year of hearing aid provision. Our findings revealed a significant reduction in the perceived emotional and social effects of hearing impairment following 1 year of hearing aid use. The reduction in perceived handicap, as measured using the HHIE, was greater for the hearing aid users than for their spouses. The findings attest to the construct validity of the HHIE as a measure of hearing aid benefit.
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