Hearing loss, control, and demographic factors influencing hearing aid use among older adults

Dean C. Garstecki*, Susan F. Erler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Preference for non-use of hearing aids among older adults who are candidates for amplification remains to be explained. Clinical studies have examined the contribution of consumer attitudes, behaviors, and life circumstances to this phenomenon. The present study extends the interests of earlier investigators in that it examines psychological control tendencies in combination with hearing loss and demographic variables among older adults who elected to accept (adherents) or ignore (nonadherents) advice from hearing professionals to acquire and use hearing aids. One hundred thirty- one individuals participated by completing measures of hearing, hearing handicap, psychological control, depression, and ego strength. Participants were asked to provide demographic information and personal opinions regarding hearing aid use. Adherence group and gender differences were noted on measures of hearing sensitivity, psychological control, and demographic factors. Female adherents demonstrated greater hearing loss and poorer word recognition ability but less hearing handicap, higher internal locus of control, higher ego strength, and fewer depressive tendencies than female nonadherents. They reported demographic advantages. Female adherents assumed responsibility for effective communication. Although male adherents and nonadherents did not differ significantly demographically, male adherents were more accepting of their hearing loss, took responsibility for communication problems, and found hearing aids less stigmatizing. Implications for clinical practice and future clinical investigations are identified and discussed. Results are expected to be of interest to clinicians, clinical investigators, and health care policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-537
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Control
  • Hearing aids
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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