The association between hearing loss and socialization has been characterized in limited detail and primarily among non-Hispanic Caucasians. We aimed to study this relationship using more detailed socialization measures than previously used and focusing on Hispanics.
Cross-sectional epidemiologic study (Hispanic Community Health Study).
Multicentered, four U.S. communities.
U.S. Hispanics ages 18 to 76 years.
Multivariable linear regression controlling for confounders (age, sex, education) was conducted to analyze the association between hearing loss (four-frequency pure tone average) and socialization. Socialization was assessed with three independent surveys: a modified Cohen Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL), the Cohen Social Network Index (SNI), and a modified Moos Family Environment Scale.
Average age was 46.7 years (standard deviation [SD], 13.6 yr; range, 18–75 yr). Average ISEL composite score was 25.9 (SD, 6.66; n = 4,330). Controlling for confounders, for every 10 dB worsening in hearing, the ISEL score decreased by 0.31 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.08–0.52; p < 0.01). Average SNI network diversity score was 6.89 (SD, 1.81; n = 3,117) and average SNI network size was 15.4 individuals (SD, 8.11). Controlling for confounders, for every 10 dB worsening in hearing, the SNI network diversity decreased by 0.22 (95% CI, 0.15–0.29; p < 0.001), and SNI size decreased by 0.25 (95% CI, 0.07–0.62; p < 0.05). Average family cohesion score on the Moos Family Environment Scale was 12.9 (SD, 2.77; n = 4,234). Controlling for age, sex, and education, for every 10 dB worsening in hearing, family cohesion decreased by 0.14 (95% CI, 0.04–0.23; p < 0.01).
Hearing loss is associated with less social support, smaller/less diverse social networks, and less family cohesion in U.S. Hispanics.