A comparison of psychosocial health among individuals with different levels of hearing ability during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Objective: This study assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on psychosocial health among individuals with different levels of hearing ability. Design: For this cross-sectional study, adults completed an online digits-in-noise test and survey. Participants were categorised into “good”, “insufficient”, or “poor” hearing groups. Survey questions included topics on depression, anxiety, distress, somatisation, and loneliness levels. Multiple logistic, linear, and negative binomial regressions examined differences in psychosocial health between hearing groups. Moderation analyses identified vulnerable subgroups. Mediation analyses examined mediating effects of pandemic measures on hearing ability and psychosocial health. Study sample: Eight-hundred and sixty-five adults with or without hearing impairment. Results: Individuals with poor hearing had a higher odds of having elevated anxiety levels and had higher somatisation levels compared to participants with good hearing. Chronic diseases significantly moderated the relationship between poor hearing ability and loneliness. Difficulties with communicating through facemasks, 1.5 m distance, plastic screens, and during video calls significantly mediated the relationships between hearing ability, anxiety and somatisation. Conclusions: Results highlight the elevated anxiety and somatisation levels experienced among individuals with hearing impairment during the COVID-19 pandemic. More awareness is needed of the negative impact pandemic measures can have on psychosocial health during future health crises.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Early online date2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Hearing ability
  • pandemic measures
  • psychosocial health
  • vulnerable

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