Participants needed for COVID-19 survey on hearing loss and mental health

We are looking for people over the age of 70 and with internet access to take part in a survey investigating how the coronavirus pandemic impacts on social interactions, loneliness and mental health.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused world-wide disruption in community and social interactions. People over the age of 70, deemed as having a greater risk for severe illness, are expected to follow social distancing guidance particularly stringently and limit face-to-face interactions wherever possible.

In the UK, half of people over the age of 70 live alone, so rely on connections outside of their household. We want to understand how isolation due to coronavirus is affecting people over 70, and how this may be different for people with hearing loss.

Participants will complete an online survey so we can measure the psychological effects of forced distancing. The results will determine: a) how hearing loss and social distancing are related to loneliness, depression, anxiety and cognitive function and b) if people with hearing loss require additional support during the crisis, and if so, what this support should involve.

If you agree to take part, you will give your consent to take part in the study through our online testing platform, “REDCap”. You will need to have access to the internet and a suitable device to access the survey. The survey is anonymous. We will collect some background information about you, as well as questions about your hearing, cognitive function and social interactions covering pre-lockdown and current situations. You will then be asked to complete three questionnaires referring to the past 2 weeks, including measures of mood, anxiety and loneliness. We expect this survey will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Please complete this survey without assistance from others.

After 12 weeks (3 months) you will be asked to complete a shorter survey including some questions regarding your social interactions and the three questionnaires regarding mood, anxiety and loneliness. It is up to you to choose if you would like to do this. If you would like to do this, we will ask you to enter your email address so we can contact you with the follow-up survey. We expect this survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

The research is being carried out by Prof Chris Plack and Dr Jenna Littlejohn from the Division of Human Communication, Development and Hearing at the University of Manchester, and Prof Annalena Venneri from the Division of Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield. If you would like further information about this study and survey and are interested in taking part please contact jenna.littlejohn@manchester.ac.uk.

View the leaflet.

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