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Original scientific paper

Role of social support in quality of life of people with hearing impairment

Vanja Lovretić ; Psychiatric hospital “Sveti Ivan”, Jankomir 11, Zagreb, Croatia
Ksenija Pongrac ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, University J.J. Strossmayer, Osijek, Croatia
Gorka Vuletić ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, University J.J. Strossmayer, Osijek, Croatia
Tomislav Benjak ; Croatian National Institute of Public Health, Zagreb, Croatia

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Background: The deterioration of hearing impairment reduces quality of life (QOL). There is evidence confirming the existence of a positive relationship between social support and subjective QOL.

Aim: To examine the subjective QOL of people with severe hearing impairment in relation to the use of hearing aids and perceived social support.

Methods: The study included 155 members of Associations of Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Osijek and Zagreb. Data were collected during October and November 2011. Multidimensional approach was used to measure QOL applying the following instruments: Personal Wellbeing Index ‒ Adult (PWI), Scales of Perceived Social Support (SPSS), and Socio-Demographic Health Questionnaire.

Results: The average score on the SPSS was 200,06 (SD = 39,01). Most social support was received from family members (M = 101,74; SD = 24,73). Descriptive analysis of PWI and QOL domain showed low PWI score (M = 56,64; SD = 18,78), the highest satisfaction with close relationships (intimacy) (M = 6,64; SD = 2,44), and the lowest with future security (M = 4,85; SD = 2,53). The highest correlation was obtained between close relationships and total social support (r = 0,626; p < 0,01), and the lowest between material well-being and social support of the family (r = 0,282; p < 0,01). Social support was the strongest significant predictor of overall QOL (explaining 22% of variance of QOL). Those using hearing aids had statistically significant higher scores in total QOL, as well as in health, close relationships, safety domains, and in social support.

Conclusion: This study shows that use of hearing aids results in higher perceived social support which is the strongest predictor of overall QOL.


hearing impairment; quality of life; social support; hearing aids

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