Hearing screening ups awareness of hearing loss, hearing aid use

Janet S. Choi, M.D., from University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues assessed the association between having a prior hearing test and awareness of hearing loss and hearing aid use. The analysis included 3,192 adults aged 60 years and older who completed audiometric testing in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005 to 2016).

The researchers found that a history of having a more recent hearing test was associated with a lower risk for underreporting of hearing loss (odds ratio, 0.54) and higher likelihood of hearing aid use (odds ratio, 14.59). The risk for underreporting hearing loss was three times lower among those who had a recent hearing test than those who had not (odds ratio, 0.29) when adjusting for demographic characteristics, audiometry-measured hearing loss, and tinnitus. The likelihood of hearing aid use was 10 times higher among those who had a recent hearing test (odds ratio, 10.91) when the model was adjusted for the degree of self-reported hearing trouble.

“Nevertheless, these results suggest that implementation of hearing screening and subsequent evaluation by a specialist may have utility in hearing loss awareness and hearing health care use,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the hearing technology industry.