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Original Investigation
April 18, 2019

Hearing Aid Prevalence and Factors Related to Use Among Older Adults From the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Science & Mathematics, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota
  • 2School of Aging Studies, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • 3Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa
  • 4Eriksholm Research Centre, Snekkersten, Kingdom of Denmark
  • 5University of Miami Health System, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
  • 6Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • 7National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019;145(6):501-508. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.0433
Key Points

Question  What is the prevalence of and factors associated with hearing aid use among older US adults from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds?

Findings  In this cross-sectional study of 1898 adults with hearing loss from varied Hispanic/Latino backgrounds, hearing aid use was reported in 87 individuals. Factors associated with higher odds of reported hearing aid use were poorer measured hearing, higher perceived need, access to health insurance, and place of residence.

Meaning  Hearing aid prevalence among US adults from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds was low compared with the general US population, and a primary factor associated with hearing aid use was access to health insurance.

Abstract

Importance  Hearing loss is highly prevalent in the rapidly growing and aging Hispanic/Latino population in the United States. However, little is known or understood about hearing aid use among US adults from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds.

Objective  To describe hearing aid prevalence and factors associated with hearing aid use among US adults of Hispanic/Latino backgrounds.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Cross-sectional data were collected between 2008 and 2011 from 4 field centers (Bronx, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and San Diego, California) as part of the multisite Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Included individuals were adults aged 45 to 76 years with hearing loss (pure-tone average ≥25 dB HL) from randomly selected households in the 4 field centers and were from self-reported Hispanic/Latino backgrounds, including Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South American, and mixed or other backgrounds. Analysis, including age- and background-weighted prevalence estimates and multivariate logistic regression using survey methodology, was conducted from 2017 to 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome of interest was self-reported hearing aid use. The a priori hypothesis was that hearing aid prevalence estimates among included Hispanic/Latino adults would be less than recently published estimates of the general US population, and that poorer hearing, higher perceived need, older age, and higher acculturation would be associated with hearing aid use.

Results  Of 1898 individuals with hearing loss, 1064 (56.1%) were men, and the mean (SE) age was 60.3 (0.3) years. A total of 87 (4.6%) included individuals reported hearing aid use. Increased odds of self-reported use was associated with poorer measured hearing (odds ratio [OR], 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03-1.09), higher Hearing Handicap Inventory–Screening scores (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03-1.08), access to health insurance coverage (OR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.20-4.37), and place of residence (OR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.17-5.02) in an adjusted logistic regression model.

Conclusions and Relevance  Findings revealed underuse of hearing aids among adults from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. A primary factor related to use was lack of health insurance, which suggests that access influenced hearing aid use. Changes to policy and clinical service provision are needed to increase hearing aid use among aging Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States.

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