Social Lifestyle and Listening Demand
Wu and Bentler (2012) queried whether the social lifestyle of older adults places fewer demands on their hearing, as compared to younger adults. In particular, their goals were to "objectively characterize and compare the auditory lifestyles of younger and older adults" and to "examine the relationships among age, social lifestyle, and auditory lifestyle." The authors evaluated 7 male and 20 female adults (aged 40 to 88 years) with bilateral hearing impairment. Three self-report inventories were used to characterize their social lifestyles and noise dosimeters were used (for one week) to quantify sound exposure.
Wu and Bentler concluded that both groups of listeners (older and younger adults) spent similar amounts of time in specific listening activities and acoustic environments. However, older adults tended to have quieter "auditory lifestyles" and, indeed, older subjects tended to have less active social lifestyles with (predictably) fewer demands on their hearing. Of note, the authors report "social lifestyle," rather than age, is the better predictor of "listening demand."
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Jacobson G. (2012) Testing Assumptions—Do Older Adults Have Social Lifestyles that Place Fewer Demands on Hearing? Editorial. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23:697-711
Wu Y-H, Bentler R. (2012) Do Older Adults Have Social Lifestyles That Place Fewer Demands on Hearing? Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 23:697-711.