Correlation between Educational Level and Performance of the Elderly in the Sustained Auditory Attention Ability Test
Introduction: Attention is a fundamental skill for learning new information. The number of the elderly in Brazilian population is increasing and commonly these subjects report low educational level.
Objective: To investigate the correlation between the educational level and sustained auditory attention ability in the elderly.
Methods: Ethical approval process #34/2011 (FOB-USP). In the study, 60 elderly (GI: 30 elderly with bilaterally normal hearing; GII: 30 elderly diagnosed with mild hearing loss—sensorineural and bilateral) participated, aged over 60, of both genders. The assessment consisted of applying a questionnaire, hearing assessment and Sustained Auditory Attention Ability Test (SAAAT). The test performance is verified by the total error score (the result of a sum of inattention errors and impulsivity) and the vigilance decrement. Regarding the educational level it was found that 25% had incomplete Elementary School, 13.3% completed Elementary School, 20% completed High School, 1.7% incomplete High School, 26.7% completed higher education, 10% incomplete higher education, and 3.3% illiterate.
Results: There was no statistical significant difference between schooling and performance of elderly SAAAT in both groups—GI (total error score: p = 0.687/vigilance decrement: p = 0.862); GII (total error score: p = 0.139/vigilance decrement: p = 0.538).
Conclusion: It was observed that educational level was negatively correlated with the sustained auditory attention, suggesting that in this sample the low educational level did not affect the decline of this ability in the elderly. (Supported by FAPESP).