Effects of a Dual Sensory Loss Protocol on Hearing Aid Outcomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial

H.L. Vreeken, G.H.M.B. van Rens, S.E. Kramer, D.L. Knol, R.M.A. van Nispen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Dual sensory loss (DSL; concurrent vision and hearing loss) negatively affects quality of life. As speechreading is hampered, use of hearing AIDS (HAs) is important for older adults with DSL. However, due to vision loss, use of small and complex HAs is assumed to be difficult. An integrative DSL protocol that addresses rehabilitative care for older adults with DSL, including proper HA use, was implemented in low vision rehabilitation centers. The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the DSL protocol among HA owners on HA outcomes (i.e., HA use, benefit, satisfaction with HAs, and hearing with HAs). Design: In a randomized controlled trial, the DSL protocol was compared to a waiting list control group among clients (aged ≥50 years) of low vision rehabilitation centers with DSL. The International Outcome Inventory for Hearing AIDS (IOI-HA) and the HA Fitting Questionnaire (HAFQ) were administered at baseline and 3 months follow-up. Participants (n = 128) were randomly allocated to either the intervention (n = 63) or control group (n = 65). Results: Intention-to-treat analyses showed a near significant effect on IOI-HA Residual problems (effect size, 0.35; p = 0.063). Per-protocol analyses showed similar (nonsignificant) results on the main outcomes, and a ceiling effect was found on the HAFQ. Significant effects were found in subgroups of patients: among patients with low HAFQ scores (HAFQ-Use: effect size = 0.56, p = 0.046; HAFQ-Hearing with HAs: effect size = 0.64, p = 0.019), male participants (effect size = 0.80; p = 0.003), and those with moderate hearing loss (effect size = 0.72; p = 0.028), significantly better IOI-HA scores were found in the intervention group at 3 months follow-up. Conclusions: Although the per-protocol and subgroup analyses need to be interpreted with caution, DSL patients who experience HA difficulties could benefit from the DSL protocol by making better use of their HAs. The increasing prevalence and impact of DSL on a person's independence and social participation call for more awareness of concurrent sensory impairments in both low vision and audiology rehabilitation. Interdisciplinary training for rehabilitation professionals could be an important step, followed by integration of vision and hearing services using the DSL protocol.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e166-e175
    JournalEar and Hearing
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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