In a recent study by Reed and colleagues (2023), data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) were used to explore the prevalence of hearing loss in Medicare beneficiaries, as well as their use of hearing aids. Pure-tone audiometry in 2,803 adults revealed a positive relationship between age and hearing loss. Specifically, hearing loss was found in 65 percent and 96 percent of elderly adults ages 71 and older and 90 years or older, respectively.
Unfortunately, only 29 percent of both groups used hearings aids. A positive relationship also was reported between hearing loss severity and hearing aid use. Fourteen percent of individuals with mild hearing loss used hearing aids compared to 45 percent and 68 percent of individuals with moderate and severe hearing losses, respectively. In comparison to previous reports, these data suggest a slightly higher prevalence of hearing loss in older adults and reconfirm poor uptake of hearing aids among this population.
Reed NS, Garcia-Morales EE, Myers C, et al. (2023) Prevalence of hearing loss and hearing aid use among U.S. Medicare beneficiaries aged 71 years and older. JAMA Netw Open 6(7):e2326320.
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