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Hearing Loss in the Built Environment: The Experience of Elderly People

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A qualitative social survey has been conducted on a group of 207 elderly people with a hearing loss. The aim of the study was to determine the extent to which acoustic problems in the built environment affect this subject group. The project was thought necessary because most areas of the built environment are designed using an assumption of normal hearing. The work was conducted as part of a UK programme to extend the quality of life for disabled and elderly users of the built environment. It was found that the speech communication of elderly people was significantly affected by the presence of background talkers in a reverberant environment. Considerable evidence of subjects adapting their behaviour to acoustic problems was found. For example, a large number of subjects experienced poor reception with hearing aids. This prompted them to use the aid selectively. Also, poor sound insulation in domestic dwellings gave a strong disincentive for some subjects to use their television sets at a comfortable listening level.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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