J. Med. Internet Res. - Internet access and use in adults with hearing loss.

Tópicos

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Resumo

CKGROUND: The future rehabilitation of adults with hearing loss is likely to involve online tools used by individuals at home. Online tools could also be useful for people who are not seeking professional help for their hearing problems. Hearing impairment is a disability that increases with age, and increased age is still associated with reduced use of the Internet. Therefore, to continue the research on online audiological rehabilitative tools for people with hearing loss, it is important to determine if and to what extent adults with hearing loss use the Internet.OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the use of the Internet and email in a group of adults with hearing loss and to investigate if their use of Internet and email differed between genders, among different age groups, and how it compared with the general population in Sweden.METHODS: Questionnaires containing multiple-choice questions about Internet access, email use, and educational level were mailed to individuals with hearing loss, who were registered as patients at a hearing aid clinic. Out of the 269 invited participants, 158 returned a completed questionnaire, which was a response rate of 58.7%.RESULTS: The results showed that 60% (94/158) of the participants with hearing loss used computers and the Internet. The degree of hearing loss in the group of participants did not explain the level of Internet usage, while factors of age, gender, and education did (P<.001). More men than women used the Internet (OR 2.54, 95% CI 1.32-4.91, P<.001). Use of the Internet was higher in the youngest age group (25-64 years) compared to the oldest age group (75-96 years, P=.001). A higher usage of the Internet was observed in the participants with hearing loss, especially the elderly, when compared with the general population of Sweden (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.23-3.17, P=.04).CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the use of computers and the Internet overall is at least at the same level for people with hearing loss as for the general age-matched population in Sweden, but that this use is even higher in specific age groups. These results are important for the future work in developing and evaluating rehabilitative educational online tools for adults with hearing loss.

Resumo Limpo

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