Assessment of Auditory and Psychosocial Handicap Associated with Unilateral Hearing Loss Among Indian Patients
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In order to assess psychosocial and auditory handicap in Indian patients with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss (USNHL), a prospective study was conducted on 50 adults with USNHL in the ENT Outpatient clinic of a tertiary care centre. The hearing handicap inventory for adults (HHIA) as well as speech in noise and sound localization tests were administered to patients with USNHL. An equal number of age-matched, normal controls also underwent the speech and sound localization tests. The results showed that HHIA scores ranged from 0 to 60 (mean 20.7). Most patients (84.8 %) had either mild to moderate or no handicap. Emotional subscale scores were higher than social subscale scores (p = 0.01). When the effect of sociodemographic factors on HHIA scores was analysed, educated individuals were found to have higher social subscale scores (p = 0.04). Age, sex, side and duration of hearing loss, occupation and income did not affect HHIA scores. Speech in noise and sound localization were significantly poorer in cases compared to controls (p < 0.001). About 75 % of patients refused a rehabilitative device. We conclude that USNHL in Indian adults does not usually produce severe handicap. When present, the handicap is more emotional than social. USNHL significantly affects sound localization and speech in noise. Yet, affected patients seldom seek a rehabilitative device.
KeywordsUnilateral sensorineural hearing loss Audiometry Speech tests Sound localization
We would like to acknowledge with gratitude, the role of Dr. Rajeev Kumar who helped with the collection of data and Ms. Tunny Sebastian for her help with data analysis. This study was supported by a FLUID research grant from Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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