The Effect of Hearing Impairment in Older People on the Spouse


The prevalence of hearing impairment (HI) in older people and its detrimental effects on their quality of life and well-being is well known.

To date however, there have been few studies investigating the impact on the person's spouse. To investigate this topic, a qualitative study consisting of in-depth interviews was conducted with five female and five male spouses of older people with HI.

The aims of the study were: (1) to describe the spouses' experiences of living with someone with a HI; (2) to describe the effect of HI on the couples' communication and relationship; and (3) to identify coping strategies adopted by spouses.

An interpretive analysis revealed four themes that described the experience of spouses of older people with HI: (1) the broad ranging effects of the HI on the spouses' everyday lives; (2) the spouses' need to constantly adapt to their partners' HI; (3) the effect of acceptance of the HI on the spouse; and (4) the impact of ageing and retirement.

Spouses in this study experienced a wide range of effects as a result of their partners' HI. Implications for audiological rehabilitation are discussed.


Nerina Scarinci, Linda Worrall, and Louise Hickson


Scarinci, N., Worrall, L., & Hickson, L. (2008). The effect of hearing impairment in older people on the spouse. International journal of audiology47(3), 141-151.