Impact of COVID-19 lockdown on social support status among older New Zealanders with hearing impairment
Kyaw TA., Fok C., Teh R., Tin ST., Williams E., McAuliffe M., Searchfield GD.
This study reveals the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on self-reported social isolation in a group of hearing-impaired New Zealanders aged 65 years and over. An online questionnaire based on the modified Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (mMOS-SS) was administered as an adjunct to an ongoing hearing aid trial (the CogniAid Trial) from May to June 2020. Total mMOS-SS and subscale scores (instrumental and emotional support) referring to both before and following COVID-19 lockdown (March to June 2020) were compared. A total of 135 participants from the CogniAid Trial were invited through emails to participate in this online survey; four mails failed to deliver. Among 131 participants, 76 responded, and 46 completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 30%. Twenty-six per cent of the participants reported decreased total and emotional support scores following the lockdown, and about 18% reported a decreased instrumental support score. Generalized linear factorial models for ordinary logistic regression revealed that older age was a significant predictor of decreased instrumental support score [adjusted OR: 1.15 (1.00–1.32)] after controlling for age, gender, duration of hearing problem, current hearing aid use, living arrangement, and physical activity status. No significant association was found between COVID-19 lockdown on social support status and gender, ethnicity, education level, having paid work, unpaid or volunteer work and depression status; however, an association was found between the lockdown and both marital status and living arrangement amongst a group of older New Zealanders.