According to researchers, low-income elderly people are prone to less access to hearing aid and its services. The hearing aid services include fitting and maintenance.
Amber Willink, Ph.D., along with his colleagues from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported a study in Health Affairs. The study suggests less than 41% Medicare and Medicaid eligible patients, use hearing care services. Also, twice the patients have trouble hearing with their aid when compared with high-income beneficiaries. Also, old people whose education is less than a high school diploma were 30% less expected to use hearing aid services.
The way of study:
The researchers checked whether the low-income beneficiaries were able to access the hearing aid and associated services. Hearing loss affects nearly two-thirds of an adult of ages more than 70. Dementia, cognitive decline, and falls are considered as the reason beyond it. They found that old people with high hearing loss receive poor care based on 30-day readmission rates.
The report was based on 2013 data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Cost and Use file. Around 9000 Medicare beneficiaries of age ≥ 65 were survived who used a hearing aid in the previous 12 months. Only 11% of the beneficiaries were using the hearing aid that had higher income, higher education and was older white males. About a third of these patients used hearing aid services in 2013. Based on income, the problems with hearing aide varied.
Use of hearing aid services:
In 2013 about 71% of dual eligible’s who used hearing aids did not get hearing aid services.58% of beneficiaries with incomes ≥400% of the federal poverty level(FPL) used both the services. Beneficiaries with limitation to perform daily work who had helpers had increased the chances of the hearing aid services by 29%. Hearing aid services is very costly. It costs around $4,700 per set and $2,200 to $7,000 for services. In 2017, Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act, allowed patients to treat mild or moderate hearing loss by buying the devices over the counter.
With this law, more companies like Apple, Bose will provide hearing aid connectivity to the phone. More companies will release hearing aid products. However, the price will definitely be a barrier for low-income people.