Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Hearing Health Care Among Older Americans

TitleRacial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Hearing Health Care Among Older Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNieman, CL, Marrone, N, Szanton, SL, Thorpe, R. J., J, Lin, FR
JournalJ Aging Health
Date PublishedFeb
ISBN Number1552-6887 (Electronic)0898-2643 (Linking)
Accession Number25953816
Keywords*Healthcare Disparities/ethnology, African Americans/*statistics & numerical data, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cross-Sectional Studies, European Continental Ancestry Group/*statistics & numerical data, Female, Health care disparities, Health Care Surveys, Hearing Aids/*utilization, hearing health care, hearing loss, Hearing Tests/*utilization, Humans, Male, Mexican Americans/*statistics & numerical data, Minority Health, Multivariate Analysis, older adults, Socioeconomic Factors, United States

OBJECTIVE: Hearing impairment is highly prevalent, but little is known about hearing health care among older minority adults. METHOD: We analyzed nationally representative, cross-sectional data from 1,544 older adults >/= 70 years with audiometry and hearing care data from the 2005-2006 and 2009-2010 National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys. RESULTS: After adjusting for age and speech frequency pure tone average, Blacks (odds ratio [OR] = 1.68, vs. Whites) and those with greater education (OR = 1.63, >/= college vs. < high school) were more likely to report recent hearing testing, while White older adults and those with greater socioeconomic status were more likely to report regular hearing aid use (all ps < .05). Based on a multivariate analysis, Blacks were not more likely than Whites to use hearing aids despite being more likely to have had recent hearing testing. DISCUSSION: Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities exist in hearing health care and represent critical areas for research and intervention.