Hearing handicap in adults with unilateral deafness and bilateral hearing loss

Satoshi Iwasaki, Hajime Sano, Shinya Nishio, Yutaka Takumi, Makito Okamoto, Shin Ichi Usami, Kaoru Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the perception of hearing handicap in adult patients with unilateral sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) compared with those with bilateral SNHL or unilateral congenital SNHL. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Setting: Multicenter department of otolaryngology referrals. Patients: Seventy-one subjects in the unilateral severe-profound (>70 dB) sudden SNHL group (Group 1), 17 subjects in the unilateral prelingual or congenital SNHL group (Group 2), and 121 subjects in the bilateral SNHL group (Group 3). Interventions: Questionnaire. Main Outcome Measures: Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA) and visual analogue scale (VAS) measurements of hearing handicap. Results: Average levels of hearing loss were 92 dB in Group 1, 109 dB in Group 2, and 67 dB in Group 3. The relative percentage scores ofHHIA andVAS compared with Group 3 were 72.6%and 81.0%in Group 1 and 25.4%and 50.3%in Group 2, respectively. A mild correlation between the HHIA subscale or VAS scores and degree of hearing loss could be found in Group 3. No significant correlation was found between the HHIA subscale or VAS scores and duration of hearing loss in Group 1 or Group 3. Higher scores were obtained in male subjects than in female subjects. Patients in Group 1 who were troubled by tinnitus scored significantly higher in the HHIA. In multiple logistic regression analysis, presence of tinnitus, older age, higher average hearing loss level, and group (bilateral SNHL>unilateral sudden SNHL>unilateral precongenital SNHL) revealed a significant positive association with high score (>42) of HHIA (odds ratio, 3.171, 1.021, 1.031, and 6.690, respectively). Conclusion: The results of HHIA and VAS suggest that not only patients with bilateral SNHL but also those with unilateral sudden SNHL, particularly those who have tinnitus, experience a hearing handicap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-649
Number of pages6
JournalOtology and Neurotology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Hearing handicap
  • Questionnaire
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Unilateral deafness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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