A Multi-Institutional Study of Older Hearing Aids Beginners—A Prospective Single-Arm Observation on Executive Function and Social Interaction

Yasue Uchida, Kazuyo Mise, Daiji Suzuki, Yoko Fukunaga, Nobuhiro Hakuba, Naoki Oishi, Takaki Ogawa, Mariko Takahashi, Yutaka Takumi, Shohei Fujimoto, Yukihide Maeda, Kazunori Nishizaki, Teppei Noda, Noritaka Komune, Nozomu Matsumoto, Takashi Nakagawa, Yukiko Nishita, Rei Otsuka, Azusa Maegawa, Tomomi KimizukaAkiko Miyata, Ayako Gonda, Kazuha Ishikawa, Yoshie Higashino, Shingo Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To obtain new insights into research questions on how executive function and social interaction would be observed to change after the introduction of hearing aids (HAs) in older people with hearing impairment. Design: Multi-institutional prospective single-arm observational study. Setting and Participants: Outpatients with complaints of hearing difficulty who visited HA clinics between October 18, 2017, and June 30, 2019, in 7 different university hospitals in Japan. Methods: The inclusion criteria of the study named Hearing-Aid Introduction for Hearing-Impaired Seniors to Realize a Productive Aging Society—A Study Focusing on Executive Function and Social Activities Study (HA-ProA study) were age ≥60 years and no history of HA use. A series of multi-institution common evaluations including audiometric measurements, the digit symbol substitution test to assess executive functions, convoy model as an index of social relations, and hearing handicap inventory for the elderly (HHIE) were performed before (pre-HA) and after 6 months of the HA introduction (post-HA). Results: Out of 127 enrollments, 94 participants completed a 6-month follow-up, with a mean age of 76.9 years. The digit symbol substitution test score improved significantly from 44.7 at baseline to 46.1 at 6 months (P =.0106). In the convoy model, the social network size indicated by the number of persons in each and whole circles were not significantly different between pre- and post-HA; however, the total count for kin was significantly increased (P =.0344). In the analyses of HHIE, the items regarding the family and relatives showed significant improvement. Conclusions and Implications: HA use could benefit older individuals beginning to use HAs in executive function and social interaction, though the results should be interpreted cautiously given methodological limitations such as a single-arm short 6 months observation. Reduction in daily hearing impairment would have a favorable effect on relationships with the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1168-1174
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • Age-related hearing impairment
  • convoy model
  • digit symbol substitution test (DSST)
  • hearing aid
  • hearing handicap inventory for the elderly (HHIE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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