- Among older adults with hearing loss covered by private managed care insurance, those who used hearing aids had lower risks for several age-related adverse health outcomes.
Why this matters
- Hearing aids are costly and not covered or covered to a limited extent by most health insurance plans.
- Age-related health conditions have a large personal and societal toll.
- Prevalence of hearing aid use:
- Lower among women vs men (11.3% vs 13.3%; P<.0001>
- Higher among whites (13.6%) vs blacks (9.8%) vs Asians (8.3%) vs Hispanics (6.5%) (P<.0001>
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.76-0.89).
- Anxiety or depression (HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.86-0.93).
- Injurious falls (HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80-0.95).
- Retrospective cohort study using 2008-2016 national longitudinal claims data from a large private payer for 114,862 adults aged ≥66 years with hearing loss.
- Main outcomes: diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, anxiety/depression, injurious falls within 3 years of hearing loss diagnosis.
- Funding: National Institutes of Health; University of Michigan Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.
- Reliance on claims data.
- Unmeasured, residual confounding.
- Frequency, duration of hearing aid use unknown.
- Generalizability unclear.