Coprevalence and impact of dysphonia and hearing loss in the elderly.
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.
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