Original Research

The lived experiences and psychosocial impact of hearing loss on the quality of life of adults with Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis

Amanda B. Thusi, Jessica Paken
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 1 | a823 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v69i1.823 | © 2022 Amanda B. Thusi, Jessica Paken | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 February 2021 | Published: 14 February 2022

About the author(s)

Amanda B. Thusi, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, South Africa
Jessica Paken, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, South Africa

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Background: Aminoglycosides used in the treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are known to result in hearing loss. The effects of an acquired hearing loss with an MDR-TB diagnosis may have an increased adverse impact on the overall quality of life of an individual; however, there is minimal research in the area.

Objectives: This study explores the psychological and emotional impact of hearing loss in adults with MDR-TB; and describes the experiences of the social, economic, and vocational impact of hearing loss in adults with MDR-TB.

Method: A qualitative research study was conducted on 10 participants, with a confirmed diagnosis of MDR-TB and hearing loss. The researcher used a semi-structured questionnaire to collect data during face-to-face, audio-recorded interviews.

Results: Hearing loss in patients diagnosed with MDR-TB has a significant adverse impact on the lived experiences of patients. Stigma, discrimination, psychological distress, adverse changes in family status and family relationships, financial constraints, and social challenges were some of the common issues reported by participants. Unemployment posed a significant challenge, resulting in participants having no economic stability because of MDR-TB, which was then worsened by the hearing loss; consequently, generating a great deal of stress. Participants reported feelings of worthlessness, a loss of identity, lack of motivation, feelings of embarrassment, and loss of independence.

Conclusion: There is a significant irreversible social, psychological, and economic impact of hearing loss that has a direct impact on the lived experiences of MDR-TB patients and their families even after cure of MDR-TB. There is a need for improved treatment methods with psychosocial intervention strategies that equip patients to alleviate the adverse effects they experience.


aminoglycosides; hearing loss; hearing impairment; MDR-TB; ototoxicity; psychosocial; quality of Life; South Africa


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