Hearing difficulties in older people may have a negative impact on younger relatives, a construct termed "hearing hassles". Although the provision of a hearing aid to older people with hearing difficulties can reduce the hearing hassles experienced by younger relatives, there is considerable variation in response. In this paper, we examine the factors associated with change in hearing hassles over a period of 6 months. Participants included 56 pairs of older people (65-93 years) and younger relatives (24-66 years) drawn from the community. None of the older participants had severe cognitive impairment. A hearing aid was supplied to the older participants. Increase in hearing hassles over the 6-month period was associated with greater initial caregiving time demands, deterioration in the quality of the relationship with the older person, a decrease in the use of coping strategies aimed at maintaining a balance in life, and the following characteristics of the older person: greater age, more impaired cognitive function, more initial hearing disability, and a decrease in physical function over the 6 months. The hypotheses emerging from these results are considered, and implications for intervention are outlined.
- Hearing disability