Subject Area

Counseling, Health Care, Psychology, Rehabilitation Counseling, Social Work


As Baby Boomers enter the late adulthood stage of life, hearing loss continues to be one of the most prevalent, chronic, and isolating conditions facing older adults today. Research has focused on the negative consequences of hearing loss on the health and the person’s well-being, but it is equally important to recognize that hearing loss also leads to communication loss. The resulting social isolation and the collateral effects of hearing loss on the communication partner are the focus of this mixed-method study that explored the hearing loss-related quality of life for both parties. Five overarching themes emerged from the analysis, presenting salient features of the hearing loss-related quality of life for both participants. Moreover, self-reported assessments revealed that communication partners significantly underrated their spouses’ social/situational effects of hearing loss compared to their spouses’ ratings. The findings showed how the participants’ quality of life had been shaped by the challenges of communication as exacerbated by hearing loss. The participants remarked that the interview process served to increase their awareness of needed communication strategies to reduce social, emotional, psychological, and communication isolation, and improve quality of life for both parties.