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Innovation in Aging


Background and Objectives: The purpose of the study is to investigate the association of hearing loss (HL) with maintaining a usual source of care (USOC). Research Design and Methods: In this study we implemented a time-To-event analysis using data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a nationally representative study of older Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. The study sample included 2 114 older adults, aged 65+ years, 58.9% female, 20.4% Black, who reported having a USOC during the baseline round of NHATS and who remained community-dwelling during the 2011-2018 study period. Based on self-report measures at baseline, individuals' hearing status was classified into 3 categories: no HL, treated HL (hearing aids users), and untreated HL (nonhearing aid users who reported having hearing difficulties). Time-To-event was computed as the time elapsed between baseline and the study round in which the respondent first reported no longer having a USOC. Discrete-Time proportional hazard models were estimated. Results: In fully adjusted models, untreated HL at baseline was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) for losing one's USOC 1.60 (95% confidence interval: 1.01, 2.56) times higher than that of participants with no HL. We found no HR differences between the treated-and no-HL group. Discussion and Implications: Untreated HL at baseline was associated with a higher probability of losing one's USOC over time. Noninvasive interventions such as hearing aids may be beneficial for maintaining a USOC.





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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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