Patients with age-related hearing loss (HL) may be at higher risk for undesirable health outcomes because HL may tend to isolate individuals and reduce necessary communications about health problems to health care providers and family members, or lead to low understanding of the proper use of medications. The extent to which HL affects the process of care for other chronic conditions and/or is associated with poor health outcomes is not well understood. This project will use medical care administrative insurance billing data from older adults to compare accepted medical care quality measures between propensity-score matched patients with and without HL. The measures to be examined will include 1) difference in medication non-adherence, 2) hospital and emergency room use for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions (ACSCs), 3) cost of care and 4) death rates. These outcome and quality measure are commonly used in the analysis of medical care billing data to assess the process of care, health outcomes, and cost of care, but have not been applied to the study of hearing-related outcomes. Thus, this project will be the first to examine utilization patterns for patients with HL using large archival data bases and to apply the latest quasi-experimental methods to HL research. The results from this project will clarify the financial ramifications of HL and document the magnitude of differences in medical care use and health outcomes in older adults with HL compared to matched controls. Findings will help inform future studies to examine how HL may affect medication non-adherence, patient satisfaction and access to care.

Public Health Relevance

Hearing loss is among the most common chronic conditions of aging, but only a small percentage of older adults access the hearing health care system for diagnosis and treatment. These findings, and the growing population of older adults, call attention to hearing loss as a public health problem and emphasize the critical need for evidence of the impact of hearing loss on utilization of the healthcare system and health outcomes. Direct and indirect effects of age-related hearing loss, such as breakdowns in communication between older patients and their providers, may lead to exacerbation of other chronic health conditions, adversely affecting access to care, which may increase medication non-adherence, hospitalizations, emergency room visits, healthcare costs, and mortality.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
1R21DC014031-01
Application #
8750157
Study Section
Health Services Organization and Delivery Study Section (HSOD)
Program Officer
Donahue, Amy
Project Start
2014-06-01
Project End
2016-05-31
Budget Start
2014-06-01
Budget End
2015-05-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$261,625
Indirect Cost
$86,625
Name
Medical University of South Carolina
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Allied Health Profes
DUNS #
183710748
City
Charleston
State
SC
Country
United States
Zip Code
29425