February 14, 2012

USA: Only 14 percent of seniors with hearing loss wear hearing aids

NEWPORT BEACH, California / ThirdAge.com / February 14, 2012


Boomer Health & Lifestyle

Hearing Aid Prejudice Leaves Seniors Without Help They Need


Hearing aid prejudice is keeping the majority of older Americans from getting the help they need to correct hearing loss. According to a new nationwide survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, only 14 percent of seniors with hearing loss wear hearing aids, and only five percent of adults ages 50 to 59 do.
That leaves almost 23 million Americans with audiometry-confirmed hearing loss who do not have the tools they need to correct it, MedPage Today reports. To some experts, that warrants an intervention.
“Recent research demonstrating strong associations between hearing loss and domains critical to aging highlights the need for further intervention studies to determine the role of hearing rehabilitative modalities in helping to mitigate these adverse outcomes,” wrote Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, in a clinical correspondence that appeared with the survey.
To reach these conclusions, Lin and his colleagues analyzed data from the 1999 to 2006 National health and Nutritional Examination Survey, which included questions about hearing-aid use. Though hearing-aid use increased with age, there was still a shocking number of people who suffered from hearing loss who didn’t use a hearing aid.
Lin believes people are less likely to get hearing aids because they believe hearing loss to be an “inconsequential part of the aging process.” The absence of health insurance reimbursement is also likely to play a role, as well as the lack of research on the impact of hearing aids.
Randomized trials ought to be done to demonstrate the positive effects of hearing aids in an effort to reverse the trend, researchers said.

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