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The association between non-communicable disease and hearing aid adoption in older adults with hearing loss
Objective. To assess whether specific non-communicable diseases are associated with hearing aid adoption in older adults with hearing loss.
Design. A cross-sectional, observational study.
Study sample. Data was obtained from one of the largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailers in the United Kingdom. In total, 17,172 older adults were included.
Results. Greater odds of adopting hearing aids were associated with being older (Odds ratio [OR]= 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]= 1.02, 1.03), having fewer self-reported hearing difficulties (OR= 0.61; 95% CI= 0.58, 0.64), and greater audiometric hearing loss (OR= 1.68; 95% CI= 1.54, 1.83). The odds of adopting hearing aids were lower if individuals self-reported hypertension (OR= 0.87; 95% CI= 0.79, 0.97) and diabetes (OR= 0.83; 95% CI= 0.72, 0.95). Using a decision tree model, self-reported hearing difficulties, audiometric hearing loss, and age were the best combination of variables to differentiate between individuals that did and did not adopt hearing aids.
Conclusions. This study demonstrates that hearing aid adoption is lower in older adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Thus, there is a need for healthcare professionals to identify older adults living with hearing loss and cardiovascular ill-health, ensuring that they receive appropriate patient-centred support to manage their health.
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