Quality of Life for Youth with profound sensorineural hearing loss

© Laurent Hamels/Fotolia

Adolescence is a life stage with rapid and major developmental changes, yet little is known about how these changes influence the quality of life of young people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). A team lead by the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Minnesota set out to determine differences in the three domains of a hearing-specific quality-of-life instrument between youth who had severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss based on whether they used no technology, hearing aids, or cochlear implants.

The researchers took a sample of 11- to 18-year-old youths with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. They measured Youth Quality of Life-Research Instrument and Youth Quality of Life Instrument-Deaf and Hard of Hearing (YQoL-DHH) scores. The YQoL-DHH was composed of three domains: participation, self-acceptance/advocacy, and stigma-related quality of life.

A total of 157 individuals participated. Overall mean (SD) age was 14.1 (2.3) years, and the female-male ratio was 82:75. Forty-nine individuals (31.2%) were not using any technology, 45 (28.7%) were using hearing aids, and 63 (40.1%) were using cochlear implants. Mean age of unilateral or first cochlear implant was 62.9 months. Thirty-eight individuals (24.2%) attended schools with DHH programs, 55 (35.0%) attended schools without DHH programs, and 58 (36.9%) attended schools for the deaf. Statistically significant differences were noted in YQoL-DHH participation and perceived stigma scores between the groups when stratified by technology used and school setting.

These data suggest that the domains of quality of life as measured by our instrument differ significantly among youth based on technology used and school setting. Youth using no technology or cochlear implants tended to score higher than those using hearing aids in mainstream schools with or without DHH programs and in schools for the deaf. The YQoL-DHH instrument is able to detect differences in quality of life within a group of youth with severe to profound hearing loss.

Source: University of Minnesota