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UC looking into life quality impacts of hearing impairments

UC looking into the life quality impacts of people with hearing impairment

May 5, 2013
The University of Canterbury (UC) is looking into the impacts of the quality of life of New Zealanders who have a hearing impairment.

Overseas studies have shown that hearing impairment can lead to withdrawal from participation in social events, feelings of depression, anxiety, decreased job and marital satisfaction.  

It is estimated one in a six of all New Zealanders have a hearing impairment.
UC communication disorders  researcher Dr Rebecca Kelly-Campbell says she wants to find out what quality of life issues specifically impact on people who have hearing problems.

``These issues include age, degree of hearing impairment, whether or not they wear hearing aids and are satisfied with them, relationship status and other couples.
``We would like to investigate which variables contribute to the perception of quality of life for adults with hearing impairment who live in New Zealand.

``In the US, studies hearing impaired people in a relationship have a more positive view of quality of life than people who are not in a relationship.
``We are actively seeking and recruiting 160 survey participants from around New Zealand with hearing impairment throughout New Zealand and hope to collect all the data by early June.
``We would like to get a wide range of participants so we understand the experience of all adults in NZ with hearing impairment. All participants will receive a free hearing evaluation.’’

Dr Kelly-Campbell says there has not been a study published in New Zealand that has looked at study quality of life for the general population of adults with hearing impairment.

The researchers say they are not assuming the findings from overseas studies will be the same for people living in New Zealand.
``It’s important that we understand how hearing impairment affects adults’ everyday lives so we can better meet their needs and improve our clinical services.

``We may find a correlation between overall health status and the impact of hearing impairment on quality of life. If that’s the case, we can improve access to health care for adults with hearing impairment,’’ Dr Kelly-Campbell says.
The study is being funded by a grant from UC’s College of Science and initial results will be known by the end of the year.

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