Self-reported hearing difficulties and changes in life-space mobility among community-dwelling older adults: a Two-year follow-Up study

Hannele Polku, Tuija M Mikkola, Merja Rantakokko, Erja Portegijs, Timo Törmäkangas, Taina Rantanen, Anne Viljanen
BMC Geriatrics 2015, 15: 121

BACKGROUND: Life-space mobility reflects individuals' actual mobility and engagement with society. Difficulty in hearing is common among older adults and can complicate participation in everyday activities, thus restricting life-space mobility. The aim of this study was to examine whether self-reported hearing predicts changes in life-space mobility among older adults.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study of community-dwelling older adults aged 75-90 years (n = 848). At-home face-to-face interviews at baseline and telephone follow-up were used. Participants responded to standardized questions on perceived hearing at baseline. Life-space mobility (the University of Alabama at Birmingham Life-Space Assessment, LSA, range 0-120) was assessed at baseline and one and two years thereafter. Generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the effect of hearing difficulties on changes in LSA scores.

RESULTS: At baseline, participants with major hearing difficulties had a significantly lower life-space mobility score than those without hearing difficulties (mean 54, 95 % CI 50-58 vs. 57, 95 % CI 53-61, p = .040). Over the 2-year follow-up, the life-space mobility score declined in all hearing categories in a similar rate (main effect of time p < .001, group x time p = .164). Participants with mild or major hearing difficulties at baseline had significantly higher odds for restricted life-space (LSA score < 60) at two years (OR 1.8, 95 % CI 1.0-3.2 and 2.0, 95 % CI 1.0-3.9, respectively) compared to those without hearing difficulties. The analyses were adjusted for chronic conditions, age, sex and cognitive functioning.

CONCLUSIONS: People with major hearing difficulties had lower life-space mobility scores at baseline but did not exhibit accelerated decline over the follow-up compared to those without hearing difficulties. Life-space mobility describes older people's possibilities for participating in out-of-home activities and access to community amenities, which are important building blocks of quality of life in old age. Early recognition of hearing difficulties may help prevent life-space restriction.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"