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Hearing aid utilization in Ontario – a population based study


Background — Hearing loss is one of the most common sensory impairments and hearing aids are the most common unmet assistive device need among individuals with a disability. The benefits of hearing interventions are well-documented as they are known to deter the sequalae of hearing loss including social isolation, poor mental health, falls and cognitive decline. Identifying trends in hearing aid users can provide valuable information for improving access to hearing loss interventions.

Methods — Data were retrieved from ICES databases that were used to generate a cohort of 372,448 individuals in Ontario, Canada, who first claimed hearing aids between April 2007 and March 2018 through the Assistive Devices Program.

Results — The data indicated that the frequency distribution of hearing aids has steadily inclined since 2007. The mean age of hearing aid users was 70.25 ± 14.70 years and higher neighbourhood income quintile was associated with greater hearing aid use (p < 0.001). Most first claims occurred after visiting primary care physicians (70.60%) compared with otolaryngology (13.39%). An examination of clinical comorbidities revealed hypertension (63.41%), and diabetes (24.93%) to be the most common. Regression analysis demonstrated a positive associated between age and most comorbidities. Furthermore, higher neighbourhood income quintiles were associated with a reduced risk of having the examined comorbidities.

Conclusions — This study examines patient demographics and clinical comorbidities in a cohort of hearing aid users in Ontario. The results identify associations between demographics and comorbidities that provide information relevant for improving access to hearing interventions and clinical decision-making in primary care.



Newsted D, Cooke B, Rosen E, Nguyen P, Campbell RJ, Beyea JA. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2022; Aug 2 [Epub ahead of print].

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