Int J Audiol. 2023 Mar 10:1-7. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2023.2183353. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain the prevalence, causes, and risk factors of hearing healthcare delays in older people with self-reported hearing loss in the United States.
DESIGN: This cross-sectional study used data from the National Health and Ageing Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative survey of Medicare beneficiaries. A supplemental COVID-19 survey was mailed to the participants from June to October 2020.
STUDY SAMPLE: By January 2021, 3257 participants had returned completed COVID-19 questionnaires, with the majority having been self-administered between July and August 2020.
RESULTS: The participants in the study represented 32.7 million older adults in the US, with 29.1% reporting hearing loss. Among over 12.4 million older adults who put off needed or planned medical care, 19.6% of those with self-reported hearing loss and 24.5% of hearing aid or device users stated they delayed hearing appointments. Approximately 629,911 older adults with hearing devices were impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak for audiological services. The top three reasons were deciding to wait, service cancellation, and fear of going. Education and race/ethnicity were associated with delaying hearing healthcare.
CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted hearing healthcare utilisation among older adults with self-reported hearing loss in 2020, with both patient- and provider- initiated delays.
PMID:36905138 | DOI:10.1080/14992027.2023.2183353