It has been demonstrated that subjects suffering from hearing impairment present significant emotional reactions and socio-situational limitations when compared to controls (Monzani et al., 2008).
To evaluate the relationship between hearing loss severity, anger expression, perceived handicap, social dysfunction and psychopathological distress in adult patients suffering from acquired hearing loss.
297 hearing impaired subjects were consecutively recruited by the ENT Clinic of the Modena and Reggio Emilia University from 1/1/07. Each patient were submitted to pure-tones audiometry and the pure tone average threshold (PTA) was calculated over 0.5,1, 2, 4 kHz. Socio-demographic data were collected (age, educational level, employment, marital status). Every patient was also administered the following questionnaire in their Italian validated version: Social Functioning Questionnaire, Brief Symptom Inventory, Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults, State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2. Descriptive statistics were used to assess sociodemographic data; Pearson correlation coefficient was used to investigate relationships between test scores and hearing loss level.
Mean age was 53.79 (SD ±13.65); 44.8% were males. Hearing impairment level didn't significantly relate with objective social functioning level (p=.311), but with the subjective emotional and socio-situational perceived handicap (p=.000); moreover it significantly correlates with individual psychopathological tendency to phobic reaction (p=.006) and to anger general expression index (p=.021). Furthermore it directly relates with state anger (p=.021) and inversely relates with external expressed anger (p=.023).
Anger felt but not expressed might be a key element in determining subjective social impairment in hearing loss patients and contribute to their well-known psychological distress.