The disuse of hearing aids in elderly people diagnosed with a presbycusis at an old age home, in Johannesburg, South Africa: a pilot study
Background: Hearing loss is the most common form of human sensory deficit with its prevalence highest within the geriatric population. Approximately a third of adults aged from 61 years exhibit the characteristics of presbycusis, a number one contributor to communication disorders among the elderly, thereby affecting the social, functional and
psychological wellbeing of the elderly. Subsiquently, this leads to loneliness, isolation, dependence and frustration.
Objective: To explore reasons why elderly people diagnosed with presbycusis and fitted with hearing aids stop using hearing aids post fitting.
Method: A qualitative research design was adopted. Through purposive sampling, ten participants consisting of three males and seven females, aged between 74 and 85 participated in face-to-face and semi-structured interviews.
Results: The following themes emerged: discomfort, lack of information about hearing aids, difficulty with function and maintenance and the lack of patient involvement in the hearing aid selection process.
Conclusion: There are different reasons for disuse of hearing aids in elderly patients. Audiologists should ensure that hearing aids selection is patient specific and inclusive. Expectations of the elderly regarding hearing aids benefits and limitations should also be addressed by audiologists before fitting hearing aids.
Keywords: Elderly, hearing aids, hearing loss, audiologists.