Self-reported hearing difficulties are associated with loneliness, depression and cognitive dysfunction during the COVID-19 pandemic

Littlejohn, Jenna and Venneri, Annalena and Marsden, Antonia and Plack, Christopher (2021) Self-reported hearing difficulties are associated with loneliness, depression and cognitive dysfunction during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Audiology. ISSN 1499-2027

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Abstract

Objective To investigate whether hearing difficulties exacerbate the damaging effects of enforced social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic on isolation and loneliness, and lead to accelerated mental health issues and cognitive dysfunction. Design Rapid online survey. Participants completed a series of online questionnaires regarding hearing ability, socialisation (pre- and during-pandemic), loneliness, anxiety, depression and cognitive function. Study sample A total of 80 participants over the age of 70 with access to the internet. Results There was a significant reduction in socialisation levels from pre-pandemic in this population. Hearing difficulties were significantly associated with greater levels of loneliness, depression and self-perceived cognitive dysfunction after controlling for age, gender, and level of education. Additionally, compared to pre-pandemic, people with hearing difficulties had increased odds of reporting worsened anxiety, depression, and memory during the COVID-19 pandemic, although only the effect of hearing difficulties on the change in memory reached statistical significance after controlling for age, gender, and level of education. Conclusions The worse the self-reported hearing abilities are, the greater the negative impact of enforced social distancing on depression, loneliness and cognitive function.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Audiology
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Audiology on 15th March 2021, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14992027.2021.1894492
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3600/3616
Subjects:
ID Code:
152300
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
03 Mar 2021 15:34
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
09 Jun 2021 05:50