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Psychological aspects of auditory disorders : cognitive functioning and psychological state

McKenna, Laurence (1997). Psychological aspects of auditory disorders : cognitive functioning and psychological state. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, The City University, London)


This thesis presents six studies concerned with the psychological status of people with audiological disorders, particularly tinnitus and hearing loss. Study One (Part I of the thesis) employed a structured interview and the General Health Questionnaire to investigate the emotional status of subjects with a variety of audiological symptoms. Psychological disorder was found to be more prevalent among subjects complaining of vertigo (64%) than among those complaining of tinnitus (45%); the prevalence of psychological disorder among subjects complaining of hearing loss was lower than among tinnitus subjects (27%). A higher prevalence of disturbance was found among subjects with multiple symptoms. A previous history of psychological distress correlated with current ratings of disturbance. Studies Two and Three (Part II) are concerned with the psychology of cochlear implantation. Methodological issues concerning psychological assessment in this context are discussed. Study Two uses Repertory Grid Technique to assess the psychological consequences of using an implant. Eight out of ten subjects reported important changes in psychological well-being related to their use of the device. Study Three identifies a group of subjects applying for an implant while having a non-organic hearing loss. The implications for the use of standardised assessment procedures are discussed. Studies Four, Five and Six (Part III) assess the cognitive functioning of subjects with tinnitus. Tinnitus subjects' performance on neuropsychological tests is compared with that of hearing impaired control subjects. Subjects were also assessed using the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ). The emotional status of the subjects was assessed using the Speilberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The Beck Depression Inventory was also used in Study Six. The groups were not distinguished by a number of neuropsychological tests, however it was found, in Studies Four and Five, that Tinnitus subjects' performance on verbal fluency tests was Significantly poorer than the Control subjects, after hearing loss was controlled for. In Study Six it was found that both Tinnitus and Control subjects performed less well than expected on the STROOP test; this was more apparent in the Tinnitus group. The Tinnitus group also obtained higher CFQ scores in Studies Four and Five. Trait anxiety was a feature of the Tinnitus groups. The implications for the cognitive functioning of both tinnitus and hearing impaired subjects are discussed in terms of Baddeley's model of working memory. The importance of these findings for complaint about tinnitus and hearing loss are considered.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RF Otorhinolaryngology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
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