Prevalence of Hearing Loss and Hearing Care Use Among Asian Americans: A Nationally Representative Sample

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Abstract

Objective:

To assess the prevalence of hearing loss and factors affecting hearing care use among Asian Americans, using the first nationally representative sample of Asian Americans.

Study Design:

National cross-sectional survey.

Setting:

Ambulatory examination centers.

Patients:

Three thousand six hundred twelve adults (522 Asian American) aged 20 to 69 in the 2011 to 2012 National Health and Examination Survey with pure-tone audiometry.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Percentage with hearing loss, undertaking a hearing test before the study, and hearing aid use. Hearing loss was defined as better hearing ear speech frequency pure-tone average ≥25 dBHL. Analyses incorporated sampling weights to account for complex sampling design.

Results:

The prevalence of hearing loss was 6.0% [95% CI 3.1–8.9%] among Asian Americans, comparable to White, Black, and Hispanic groups, and increased substantially with age (OR: 2.25 [95% CI: 1.6–3.2]). After adjusting for age and pure-tone average, Asian Americans with hearing loss were less likely to have received a hearing test compared with White (OR: 0.27 [95% CI: 0.20–0.36, p = <0.001]) and Black groups (OR: 0.26 [95% CI: 0.16–0.38, p<0.001]), less likely to use hearing aids compared with Whites (OR: 0.06 [95% CI: 0.01–0.64], p = 0.02), and less likely to self-report poor hearing compared with Whites (OR: 0.30 [95% CI: 0.10–0.90], p = 0.03). Among Asian Americans, using more non-English than English, being foreign-born, less education, being married, and not having insurance were associated with lower levels of receiving a hearing test.

Conclusion:

The nationally representative sample of Asian Americans with hearing data suggests that hearing loss prevalence is similar to other races/ethnicities. However, hearing aid adoption by Asian Americans tends to be less frequent.

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