Symptoms of depression and social isolation : the consequences of functional hearing impairment in residents of complex continuing care facilities
Master of Arts
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Earlier evidence was not conclusive about whether hearing loss is associated with depression and social isolation in elderly residents. The purpose of this study was to determine whether functional hearing impairment (FHI) in residents in complex continuing care facilities is associated with depression and social isolation (anhedonia, reduced social engagement, and reduced activity levels). Results indicate that functional hearing impairment is associated with symptoms of depression. Residents with FHI have higher levels of anhedonia. Moderate/severe functional hearing impairment is associated with reduced social engagement and low activity level. Path analyses showed that FHI impairs linguistic communication, linguistic communication results in social isolation, and social isolation lowers mood. Results also showed a direct effect of FHI on mood. This study adds to the literature in support of an association between functional hearing impairment, depression, and social isolation. Although this study is correlational, we propose that functional hearing impairment is associated with depression because of the social isolation caused by poor linguistic communication. While only a hypothesis, pre-existing ailments associated with complex continuing care may also amplify a sense of social isolation.