Hearing aid use in nursing homes, Part 1: Prevalence rates of hearing impairment and hearing aid use

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*, Judith W. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Although hearing impairment is among the most common chronic ailments of older persons, the problem is even greater among those in nursing homes. It is estimated that 70% to 90% of elderly residents in long-term care facilities have some degree of hearing impairment. Despite this high prevalence, significant underuse of hearing aids or other assistive devices exists, especially among those with dementia. Objectives:The current study assessed rates of hearing impairment and hearing aid use among residents in a large, mid-Atlantic nursing home. Setting and Design: In a cross-sectional survey, interviews were conducted at a large, mid-Atlantic non-profit nursing home. Participants: Reports were obtained from 279 resident-caregiver dyads, as well as from the Minimum Data Set (MDS) and research assistants performing the structured interviews. Measurements: Measures included the MDS and the Barriers to Hearing Aid Use Questionnaire, which was developed for this study. Results: Results show an inconsistency in reports of both hearing impairment and hearing aid use by multiple sources, as well as the underuse of hearing aids. These inconsistencies suggest that gross hearing impairment is undetected in clinical practice in over half of the residents. Conclusion: The findings highlight the need for regular hearing assessments in the nursing home population. They also suggest the need for evaluation of institutional-level policies regarding screening and hearing aid management, as well as the need for further information regarding potential barriers to effective hearing aid use. These issues are addressed in part 2 of this study following this report.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Hearing aid
  • Hearing impairment
  • Preferences


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