G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Associations of Hearing Difficulties, Life-Space Mobility, Quality Of Life and Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults (2020)

Polku, H. (2020). Associations of Hearing Difficulties, Life-Space Mobility, Quality Of Life and Depressive Symptoms Among Older Adults [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 221. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8165-5

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Polku, Hannele

eISBN: 978-951-39-8165-5

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 221

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8165-5

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


Difficulty in hearing is common among older adults and may complicate engagement in everyday life situations, thereby reducing quality of life. In this study, I examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between older adults’ hearing difficulties and life-space mobility and, whether this association is modified by use of a hearing aid. Moreover, I studied the associations of older adults’ quality of life with hearing difficulties and hearing sensitivity, and the association between life-space mobility and depressive symptoms. This study forms part of the “LifeSpace Mobility in Old Age” (LISPE) -study with community-dwelling older adults aged 75 to 90 years. In total, 848 older adults took part in the baseline measurements, 816 in the first follow-up one year later and 761 in the second follow-up two years after the baseline. Additionally, a random sample of 169 persons drawn from the LISPE baseline cohort participated in a substudy, which included audiometric measurements. Information on perceived hearing difficulties and perceived benefit from hearing aid use, life-space mobility, quality of life and depressive symptoms were based on self-reports. Older adults who experienced more hearing difficulties in different everyday situations reported lower life-space mobility than those who reported no hearing difficulties. At the two-year follow-up, the presence of hearing difficulties compared to not having hearing difficulties doubled the risk for reporting life-space limited to nearby areas only. Participants who perceived hearing aid use as more beneficial reported higher life-space mobility than those who perceived hearing aid use as less beneficial. Perceived hearing difficulties in different daily situations were associated with poorer quality of life, whereas audiometrically measured hearing showed no association with quality of life. Lower life-space mobility correlated with a higher number of depressive symptoms. The results of the present study indicate that hearing difficulties typically experienced in old age are associated with poorer quality of life and less involvement in everyday lifesituations, which in turn coincides with a higher number of depressive symptoms. Better understanding of these links may help in developing interventions to support positive life experiences among people with hearing difficulties, restricted life-space and depressive symptoms.

Keywords: sense of hearing; hearing aids; home ranges (biology); quality of life; depression (mental disorders); senior citizens; hearing loss; ageing

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:34