Hearing Characteristics of Stroke Patients: Prevalence and Characteristics of Hearing Impairment and Auditory Processing Disorders in Stroke Patients

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Abstract

Background:

Stroke survivors may suffer from a range of hearing impairments that may restrict their participation in postacute rehabilitation programs. Hearing impairment may have a significant impact on listening, linguistic skills, and overall communication of the affected stroke patient. However, no studies sought to systematically characterize auditory function of stroke patients in detail, to establish the different types of hearing impairments in this cohort of patients. Such information would be clinically useful in understanding and addressing the hearing needs of stroke survivors.

Purpose:

The present study aimed to characterize and classify the hearing impairments, using a detailed audiological assessment test battery, in order to determine the level of clinical need and inform appropriate rehabilitation for this patient population.

Research Design:

A case-control study.

Study Sample:

Forty-two recruited stroke patients who were discharged from a stroke unit and 40 control participants matched for age.

Data Collection and Analysis:

All participants underwent pure-tone audiometry and immittance measurements including acoustic reflex threshold, transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions, auditoryevoked brainstem response, and a central auditory processing assessment battery, performed in a single session. Hearing impairments were classified as peripheral hearing loss (cochlear and neural type), central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), and as a combination of CAPD and peripheral hearing loss.

Results:

Overall mean hearing thresholds were not significantly different between the control and stroke groups. The most common type of hearing impairment in stroke patients was the combination type, “peripheral and CAPD,” in the 61- to 80-yr-old subgroup (in 55%), and auditory processing deficits in 18- to 60-yr-olds (in 40%), which were both significantly higher than in controls.

Conclusions:

This is the first study to examine hearing function in detail in stroke patients. Given the importance of hearing for the efficiency of communication, it is essential to identify hearing impairments and differentiate peripheral and central deficits to define an appropriate intervention plan.

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