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Invited Commentary
June 2018

Hearing Aid Use and Health Care Costs Among Older Adults

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Physiological Nursing, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;144(6):505-506. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0274

A number of studies have attempted to quantify the cost of hearing loss, including ones using the same data source but an earlier time.1 A systematic review that summarized many of these findings documented the financial results of hearing loss, but also highlighted the variability across studies and lack of standardization of how hearing loss is defined when using large data sets.2 Fewer data are available, however, on whether the use of hearing aids (HAs) mitigates, attenuates, or contributes to these costs. Given the lack of data, the increasing numbers of older adults who might benefit from the use of HAs and the current lack of health care coverage for hearing health care, Mahmoudi et al3 is exploring an important topic in this issue of JAMA Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Elucidating the outcomes of HA use on health care costs could provide valuable data for those designing health care policy. The findings are interesting, yet raise a number of issues that could inform data interpretation as well as highlight additional research priorities.

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