Unmet hearing health care needs: The beaver dam offspring study

Scott D. Nash*, Karen J. Cruickshanks, Guan-Hua Huang, Barbara E.K. Klein, Ronald Klein, F. Javier Nieto, Theodore S. Tweed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objectives. We evaluated the use of hearing health care services (hearing testing and hearing aids) by adults aged 21 to 84 years. Methods. Hearing was tested and medical and hearing health histories were obtained as part of the Beaver Dam Offspring Study between 2005 and 2008 (n = 3285, mean age = 49 years). Results. Of the cohort, 34% (55% of participants aged 70 years) had a hearing test in the past 5 years. In multivariate modeling, older age, male gender, occupation, occupational noise, and having talked with a doctor about a hearing problem were independently associated with having had a hearing test in the past 5 years. Hearing aid use was low among participants with a moderate to severe hearing impairment (22.5%) and among participants with a hearing handicap (8.6%), as determined by the Hearing Handicap Inventory. Conclusions. Data support the need for improvement in hearing health care. Hearing aids' effectiveness is limited if patients do not acquire them or do not use them once acquired. Future research should focus on developing effective strategies for moving patients from diagnosis to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1139
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


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