The aim of this above study was to investigate how perceived social support and the hearing loss handicap may be influenced by residency and demographics. A total of 106 participants were tested, 71 of them with hearing loss. Thirty of the participants with hearing loss were hearing aid/s users and 45 participants were people with normal hearing. Three questionnaires were distributed among the participants, Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA), Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Social Support Survey and the Short Form-36 (SF36) Health Survey. The results revealed that there is no significant differences in the perceived handicap by hearing loss if referred only to residency. People who lived in rural and urban areas felt equally handicapped by hearing loss. However, if HHIA scores were assessed in reference to race, income and degree of hearing loss, people felt more handicapped by their hearing loss if the hearing loss was more severe and if their income was lower. Additionally, people with a hearing loss from rural areas had lower scores for on the MOS questionnaire. What was surprising and not in accordance with results of previous studies, was that white people felt more affected by their hearing loss than African Americans. However, these results may be biased as the number of African Americans that took part in this study was significantly lower than white participants. It would be interesting to do similar research for larger sample of people and in different areas of the world.

Hearing loss and social support in urban and rural communities.
Hay-McCutcheon MJ, Hyams A, Yang X, Parton J.
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Joanna Lemanska

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

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