Association between insurance status and hearing healthcare use in the United States

Isaac A. Bernstein, Uchechukwu C. Megwalu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Despite the high prevalence and morbidity of hearing loss, many individuals with hearing loss do not have access to hearing healthcare. This study aims to assess the relationship between insurance status and prior audiogram, and hearing aid use among subjects with hearing loss. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study of the 2009–10, 2011–12, and 2015–16 cycles of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) included 5270 adult subjects 18 years or older with subjective or audiometric hearing loss. Subjects were stratified by insurance: Medicare, Medicaid, private, uninsured, and ‘other or unspecified’. Results: After adjusting for covariates, among subjects with audiometric hearing loss, prior audiogram was not associated with insurance type, including no insurance (OR 0.80, 95 % CI 0.45 to 1.42), Medicare (OR 1.34, 95 % CI 0.69 to 2.59), Medicaid (OR 1.27, 95 % CI 0.55 to 2.93), or ‘other or unspecified’ (OR 1.73, 95 % CI 0.67 to 4.47). Hearing aid use was not associated with insurance type, including no insurance (OR 0.20, 95 % CI 0.03 to 1.29), Medicare (OR 0.56, 95 % CI 0.27 to 1.14), Medicaid (OR 2.03, 95 % CI 0.47 to 8.71), or ‘other or unspecified’ (OR 1.76, 95 % CI 0.59 to 5.23). Conclusions: Health insurance status was not associated with hearing healthcare use in our nationally-representative sample of individuals with hearing loss. Given variations in hearing coverage by Medicaid between states, future studies should compare the impact of Medicaid insurance on hearing aid use between states that cover hearing aids and those that do not.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103993
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Volume44
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Health insurance
  • Health status disparities
  • Hearing aids
  • Hearing loss
  • NHANES

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