Study Reveals Disparities in Hearing Aid Use Race, income and education level may influence hearing aid use in adults older than 55, according to a University of Michigan (U-M) study published in The Gerontologist. Researchers analyzed data from the national Health and Retirement Study on more than 35,500 adults over the age of 55 with self-reported hearing ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   August 01, 2018
Study Reveals Disparities in Hearing Aid Use
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Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   August 01, 2018
Study Reveals Disparities in Hearing Aid Use
The ASHA Leader, August 2018, Vol. 23, 15. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.23082018.15
The ASHA Leader, August 2018, Vol. 23, 15. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB2.23082018.15
Race, income and education level may influence hearing aid use in adults older than 55, according to a University of Michigan (U-M) study published in The Gerontologist. Researchers analyzed data from the national Health and Retirement Study on more than 35,500 adults over the age of 55 with self-reported hearing loss.
Among the participants, 40 percent of non-Hispanic white adults used a hearing aid, compared to 18.4 percent of non-Hispanic black and 21.1 percent of Hispanic adults.
About 46 percent of college-educated older adults with hearing loss reported using a hearing aid, compared with just under 29 percent of those who hadn’t graduated from high school. Additionally, Americans with an income in the top 25 percent range were almost twice as likely to have a hearing aid.

Respondents listed cost, lack of insurance and Medicare coverage for hearing aids, and the stigma of hearing loss as factors for not using hearing aids.

During follow-up interviews with 21 participants, respondents listed cost, lack of insurance and Medicare coverage for hearing aids, and the stigma of hearing loss as factors for not using hearing aids.
“However, there are a number of additional issues that place at-risk groups at an even larger disadvantage to achieving good hearing health,” says lead author Michael McKee, U-M family medicine physician and assistant professor. “Many of these issues are beyond the financial aspects, including racial/ethnicity and sociocultural elements, for instance ….” The analysis furthers knowledge about the state of hearing health care disparities in the United States.
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August 2018
Volume 23, Issue 8