Background: Despite a high prevalence of hearing impairment (HI) among the elderly, the effect on their quality of life (QOL) has not been well studied in this environment. Aim: To determine the prevalence of disability and profile of QOL among elderly persons (aged ≥65 years) with HI. Design of Study: Cross-sectional. Setting: Eight contiguousYoruba-speaking states in Nigeria. Methods: Face-to-face interviews of respondents selected using a multi-stage, stratified area probability sampling of households; HI was based on self report and observer confirmation and the QOL was measured with the World Health Organization brief version (WHOQOL-Bref). Results: The prevalence of disability in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) was 35.4% while it was 10.1% in Instrumental ADL. Prevalence increased significantly with increasing age (P = 0.05). Disability in ADL (P = 0.01), poor family interaction (P = 0.01), poor community involvement (P = 0.01) cognitive impairment (P = 0.05) and poor report of overall health (P = 0.05) were significantly more common among the elderly with HI than those without. No significant differences were found in regard to current depression or the likelihood of experiencing verbal, physical or emotional abuses. Logistic regression analyses adjusting for age, sex, chronic medical conditions and disability confirmed the salient effect of HI on the decrement in the physical domains (P = 0.05). Conclusion: HI is associated with high prevalence of disability and has adverse effect on the quality of life. This observation strengthens the need for hearing rehabilitation in the policy formulation on the care of the elderly in resource-poor settings.
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