Speech Intelligibility and Psychosocial Functioning in Deaf Children and Teens with Cochlear Implants

Deaf children with cochlear implants (CIs) are at risk for psychosocial adjustment problems, possibly due to delayed speech–language skills | The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

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This study investigated associations between a core component of spoken-language ability—speech intelligibility—and the psychosocial development of prelingually deaf CI users. Audio-transcription measures of speech intelligibility and parent reports of psychosocial behaviors were obtained for two age groups (preschool, school-age/teen). CI users in both age groups scored more poorly than typically hearing peers on speech intelligibility and several psychosocial scales.

Among preschool CI users, five scales were correlated with speech intelligibility: functional communication, attention problems, atypicality, withdrawal, and adaptability. These scales and four additional scales were correlated with speech intelligibility among school-age/teen CI users: leadership, activities of daily living, anxiety, and depression.

Results suggest that speech intelligibility may be an important contributing factor underlying several domains of psychosocial functioning in children and teens with CIs, particularly involving socialization, communication, and emotional adjustment.

Full reference: Freeman, V. et al. (2017) Speech Intelligibility and Psychosocial Functioning in Deaf Children and Teens with Cochlear Implants. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 22(3) pp.278-289.

Social Support and Coping on Quality of Life Among Elderly With Age-Related Hearing Loss

The consequences of hearing loss hinder the everyday life of older adults and are associated with reduced well-being | American Journal of Audiology

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Image source: Andrea Squatrito – Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Aim: The research aim was to explore the influence of hearing problems, various coping strategies, and perceived social support on quality of life.

Results: Quality of life was predicted by perceived social support and the number of comorbid diseases (i.e., the physical, psychological, environmental, and social quality of life was better the greater the extent of perceived social support and poorer the more diseases from which the participants suffered).

Conclusions: Perceived social support may be a relevant factor to focus on in auditory rehabilitation programs, in particular, for participants who communicate little support in hearing-related situations and are, hence, at a relative disadvantage. The involvement of significant others in counseling could facilitate the everyday life for older adults with age-related hearing loss and their significant others

Full reference: Moser, S. et al. (2017) The Influence of Social Support and Coping on Quality of Life Among Elderly With Age-Related Hearing Loss. American Journal of Audiology. Vol. 26(6) pp. 170-179. 

Changes in Psychosocial Measures after a 6-Week Field Trial

Jamie L. Desjardins and Karen A. Doherty. Changes in Psychosocial Measures after a 6-Week Field Trial American Journal of Audiology. Published online 9th May 2017
Purpose

The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which intervention with hearing aids, namely, a 6-week hearing aid field trial, can minimize the psychosocial consequences of hearing loss in adults who have previously not sought treatment for their hearing loss.

Method

Twenty-four adults with mild to moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, who had never worn hearing aids or sought help for their hearing loss, participated in this study. Participants were fitted with receiver-in-canal hearing aids, bilaterally, and wore them for 6 weeks. Participants completed subjective measures of hearing handicap and attitudes about hearing loss and hearing aids before, during, and after the hearing aid trial. A control group of age-matched participants followed the same experimental protocol, except they were not fitted with hearing aids.

Results

Using hearing aids for 6 weeks significantly reduced participants’ perceived stigma of hearing aids, personal distress and inadequacy due to hearing difficulties, and hearing handicap.

Conclusions

A hearing aid trial can have a positive effect on a person’s attitudes toward wearing hearing aids and decrease hearing handicap.

Loudness and annoyance of disturbing sounds

Åsa Skagerstrand, Susanne Köbler, and Stefan Stenfelt. Loudness and annoyance of disturbing sounds – perception by normal hearing subjectsInternational Journal Of Audiology. Published online: 09 May 2017.
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Objective: Sounds in the daily environment may cause loudness and annoyance. The present study investigated the perception of loudness and annoyance for eight different sounds present in a daily sound environment and at nine different levels varying by ±20 dB around the recorded level. The outcomes were related to tests of participants’ auditory and cognitive abilities.

Design: The participants undertook auditory and working memory (WM) tests prior to ratings of everyday sounds previously shown to be disturbing for persons with hearing impairment (hearing aid users).

Study sample: Twenty-one participants aged between 24 and 71 years, with normal hearing threshold levels.

Results: Both perceived loudness and annoyance were primarily driven by the sound level. Sounds emitted from paper were rated as having greater loudness and being more annoying than the other sound sources at the same sound level. Auditory and cognitive abilities did not influence the perception of loudness and annoyance.

Conclusions: Loudness and annoyance ratings were mainly driven by sound level. Expectations of a sound seemed to influence the assessment of loudness and annoyance while auditory performance and WM capacity showed no influence on the ratings.

Full document available here

Mindfulness meditation versus relaxation therapy in the management of tinnitus.

Arif, M. et al. The Journal of Laryngology & Otology | Published online: 30 March 2017

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Psychotherapeutic interventions have been adopted effectively in the management of tinnitus for a long time. This study compared mindfulness meditation and relaxation therapy for management of tinnitus.

This study suggests that although both mindfulness meditation and relaxation therapy are effective in the management of tinnitus, mindfulness meditation is superior to relaxation therapy.

Read the full abstract here

Recognizing Emotional Challenges of Hearing Loss

Muñoz, K. et al. (2017) Hearing Journal. 70(1) pp. 34-37

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Hearing loss is a common condition. However, many adults who could benefit from amplification do not use their hearing aids even though it could help them overcome negative consequences, such as social withdrawal, loneliness, and depression. Equally concerning, hearing aid use is highly variable among young children, compromising speech and language development outcomes.

How clients are coping with emotional challenges may be a contributing factor to hearing aid usage; such challenges may go undetected by audiologists. Depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions and can interfere with effective health care management and treatment adherence; for example, when parents of children with hearing loss were experiencing symptoms of depression, their children wore hearing aids fewer hours per day than those with no depression. Stress can also impact the physical and emotional well-being of clients with hearing loss and caregivers, and may its impact be positively influenced by social support.

Read the full article here

Psychosocial development of 5-year-old children with hearing loss: Risks and protective factors

Wong, C.L. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 19 Aug 2016

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Objective: The aims of this paper were to report on the global psychosocial functioning of 5-year-old DHH children and examine the risk and protective factors that predict outcomes.

Design: A cross-sectional analysis of data collected from a prospective, population-based longitudinal study.

Study sample: Parents/caregivers of 356 children completed questionnaires on psychosocial development (CDI, SDQ), functional communication (PEACH) and demographic information. Children completed standardized assessments of non-verbal cognitive ability (WNV) and language (PLS-4).

Results: On average, global psychosocial functioning was within the range of typically developing children; however, variability was high and 12% of children had scores that were more than 2 SDs below the norm. Non-verbal cognitive ability, presence of additional disabilities, language and functional communication significantly predicted outcomes. In contrast, type of hearing device, severity of hearing loss and age at intervention did not.

Conclusion: The global psychosocial functioning of this cohort of 5-year-old DHH children fell within the range of typically developing children. The findings suggest that spoken language ability and functional communication skills are vital for healthy psychosocial development.

Read the abstract here