Register Now
Why register?
Login
 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers January 22, 2019
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Older People Who Use Hearing Aids Still Report Hearing Challenges - January 22, 2019

Pharmacy News Article

 1/9/19 - Older People Who Use Hearing Aids Still Report Hearing Challenges

BALTIMORE, Maryland, Jan. 7 Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health issued the following news release:

* * *

- Study also finds that Americans over 65 with hearing aids have difficulty accessing hearing care services especially when they have lower incomes

* * *

A high proportion of older people with hearing aids, especially those with lower incomes, report having trouble hearing and difficulty accessing hearing care services, according to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The researchers, whose analysis is based on Medicare survey data and appears in the January issue of Health Affairs, suggest that the federal government expand Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage of hearing care services.

The study of 1,133 Medicare participants found that having a hearing aid that functioned well appeared to depend greatly on income level. Among low-income Medicare beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicaid, 27 percent of respondents reported having a lot of trouble hearing with a hearing aid. By contrast, just 11 percent of those in the highest income categoryat least four times the poverty levelreported a lot of hearing-aid difficulties. In all, 442, or 39 percent, of the 1,133 hearing-aid users reported using hearing care services in the previous year.

"This study highlights the fact that hearing aids alone don't necessarily improve hearinghearing care services are important too, but there are barriers that prevent many people from accessing those services," says study co-author Nicholas Reed, AuD, who is a member of the core faculty at the Bloomberg School's Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health and is also an assistant professor of audiology in the Department of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Two-thirds of U.S. adults over the age of 70 experience hearing loss, which reduces quality of life and has been linked to depression, dementia and a worsened risk of falls. Yet most older adults do not wear hearing aids. The devices and the audiology services needed to fit them are specifically excluded from Medicare coverage. Medicaid does provide some coverage for lower-income elderly people with hearing loss, but that coverage is far from comprehensive even in the 28 states that have it.

Apart from the hearing aid itself, which typically is priced at more than $2,000 for a single unit, the cost burden includes the services of an audiologist or other licensed hearing aid dispensertraditionally the only providers permitted to sell hearing aids. Recent legislation, the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, will by 2020 allow people to buy hearing aids directly ("over the counter") from FDA-approved manufacturers. "Probably that will make hearing aids more affordable," Reed says. "But it won't affect the barriers to accessing hearing care services, which generally are needed to optimize the function of these devices. Most people, if you put two hearing aids in their hand, will have little idea of what to do with them."

For their analysis, Reed and his colleagues, including first author Amber Willink, PhD, an assistant scientist in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management and the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, examined data from the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. This survey included 9,062 Americans age 65 and over, 1,133 of whom reported having used a hearing aid in the previous year.

The study found that 71 percent of hearing-aid users in the lowest income category reported not receiving hearing care services in the prior year, while only 58 percent of the highest-income users reported accessing such services.

The researchers conclude that access to hearing care services to optimize and maintain hearing -aid function is limited, especially for lower-income people.

They recommend that access be made easier by including hearing care services as a mandatory Medicaid benefit, orpreferably, since it would affect many more hearing-aid usersremoving the exclusion of these services from the Medicare program.

"If Medicare were to cover hearing care services, then that should improve access to those services, which over time should result in better functioning hearing aids for older people," Reed says.

"Access To Hearing Care Services Among Older Medicare Beneficiaries Using Hearing Aids" was written by Amber Willink, Nicholas Reed and Frank Lin.

The research was supported in part by funding from the Bloomberg School's Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health and from the Commonwealth Fund (Grant No. 20171061).



© 2019 Targeted News Service

Pharmacy News Index
  Drug Delivery Systems
  Drugstores
  FDA Final Approvals
  Front Page Healthcare News
  Generic Drugs
  Hospital Industry
  Internet Pharmacy
  IT in Healthcare
  Medicare & Medicaid
  Over-the-Counter Drugs
  Pharm Industry Trends and Policy
  Pharmaceutical Development
  Pharmaceutical Industry

LIVE ONLINE CE

Last Chance
Jan 22: Medication Use During Pregnancy & Lactation
Last Chance
Jan 23: ADHD in Children & Adults: Etiology, Pathology, Pharmacotherapy
Jan 24: COPD Update for Pharmacy Professionals
Jan 28: From Memory to Alzheimer’s - Supporting Memory With Lifestyle Medicine
Jan 29: Biosimilar Drugs: Legal, Regulatory & Safety Considerations
Click for entire Webinar Calendar

Special Announcement

Free Membership
Enjoy Drug Search, industry newsletters and more...

Nursing Jobs
Are you a nurse looking for a job?

Check out the Nursing Job Source.

Your number one choice for nursing jobs.



Websites » RxCareerCenter.comRxSchool.comClubStaffing.comNursingJobSource.comRN.com
Copyright © 2019 Pharmacy Choice - All rights reserved.
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Statement
888-682-4415