Introduction: Evidence regarding the effect of speechreading is lacking in age-related hearing loss (presbycusis). Thus, in individuals with presbycusis, this study determined whether speechreading would improve word intelligibility. Moreover, the study investigated the effect of speechreading on word intelligibility depending on hearing impairment severity. Materials and methods: This analytical, cross-sectional study involved two groups of individuals aged > 65 years that were enrolled by convenience sampling: 29 individuals with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss compatible with presbycusis (n=58 ears; mean age, 74.1±9.4 years) and 10 controls with at-most-mild hearing loss (n=58 ears; mean age, 73.8±8.5 years). All participants underwent a comprehensive medical and audiological evaluation, which included speech audiometry with and without observation of the audiologist's face, i.e. speechreading. Within each group, the effect of speechreading was determined as a change in the speech reception threshold. For all statistical analyses, p < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Both in individuals with presbycusis and controls, speechreading significantly improved speech discrimination (p<.001<.05); however, compared to controls, this effect of speechreading on speech discrimination was more pronounced in individuals with presbycusis (p<.001). Discussion: Individuals with presbycusis or hearing impairment displayed improved spoken-word intelligibility when spoken-word recognition was coupled with speechreading. Thus, speechreading may serve as a "third ear".
- Sensorineural hearing loss