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Effects of auditory and socio-demographic variables on discontinuation of hearing aid use among older adults with hearing loss fitted in the Chilean public health sector

Research paper by Eduardo Fuentes-López, Adrian Fuente, Gonzalo Valdivia, Manuel Luna-Monsalve

Indexed on: 21 Oct '20Published on: 03 Sep '19Published in: BMC Geriatrics



Abstract

The percentage of older adults with hearing loss who stop using their hearing aids and the variables associated with this phenomenon have not been systematically investigated in South America. This problem is relevant to the region since countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Chile have public programmes that provide hearing aids to older adults. The aims of this study were to determine the percentage of older adults fitted with a hearing aid at a public hospital in Chile who subsequently stop using it and the auditory and socio-demographic variables associated with the hazard of discontinuing hearing aid use.A group that included 355 older adults who had been fitted with a hearing aid was studied retrospectively. In a structured interview, participants were asked about socio-demographic variables and answered part of the Chilean National Survey on Health, evaluating self-perceived hearing loss and responding to questions about discontinuation of hearing aid use and their satisfaction with the device. Survival models were applied to determine the hazard of stopping hearing aid use in relation to the variables of interest.The rate of discontinuation of hearing aid use reached 21.7%. Older adults stopped using their hearing aids mainly during the first 5–6 months post-fitting, and then this number steadily increased. The income fifth quintile was 2.56 times less likely to stop using the hearing aid compared to the first. Those who self-reported that they could not hear correctly without the hearing aid were 2.62 times less likely to stop using it compared to those who reported normal hearing. The group that was very dissatisfied with the hearing aid was 20.86 times more likely to discontinue use than those who reported satisfaction with the device.Socio-demographic variables such as economic income and auditory factors such as self-perceived hearing loss and satisfaction with the device were significantly associated with the hazard of stopping hearing aid use. Self-perceived hearing loss should be considered part of the candidacy criteria for hearing aids in older adults in Chile and other (developing) countries.