Unmet hearing health care needs: the Beaver Dam offspring study.

Cruickshanks Lab // Kleins Lab // Publications // Jun 01 2013

PubMed ID: 23597370

Author(s): Nash SD, Cruickshanks KJ, Huang GH, Klein BE, Klein R, Nieto FJ, Tweed TS. Unmet hearing health care needs: the Beaver Dam Offspring Study. Am J Public Health. 2013 Jun;103(6):1134-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301031. Epub 2013 Apr 18. PMID 23597370

Journal: American Journal Of Public Health, Volume 103, Issue 6, Jun 2013

OBJECTIVES We evaluated the use of hearing health care services (hearing testing and hearing aids) by adults aged 21 to 84 years.

METHODS Hearing was tested and medical and hearing health histories were obtained as part of the Beaver Dam Offspring Study between 2005 and 2008 (n = 3285, mean age = 49 years).

RESULTS Of the cohort, 34% (55% of participants aged ≥ 70 years) had a hearing test in the past 5 years. In multivariate modeling, older age, male gender, occupation, occupational noise, and having talked with a doctor about a hearing problem were independently associated with having had a hearing test in the past 5 years. Hearing aid use was low among participants with a moderate to severe hearing impairment (22.5%) and among participants with a hearing handicap (8.6%), as determined by the Hearing Handicap Inventory.

CONCLUSIONS Data support the need for improvement in hearing health care. Hearing aids’ effectiveness is limited if patients do not acquire them or do not use them once acquired. Future research should focus on developing effective strategies for moving patients from diagnosis to treatment.