218223 Burden of Hearing Loss on the Quality of Life Among Older Adults with Medicare Supplement Insurance

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Kevin Hawkins, PhD , Ingenix, Brooklyn, MI
Ming Bai, MD , Bus Advisory & Actuarial Svcs, Ingenix Consulting, Rocky Hill, CT
Ronald J. Ozminkowski, PhD , Advanced Analytics, OptumInsight, Ann Arbor, MI
Shirley Musich, PhD , Advanced Analytics, OptumInsight, Ann Arbor, MI
Richard Migliori, MD , UnitedHealth Group Alliances, Minnetonka, MN
Charlotte S. Yeh, MD , AARP Services Inc., Washington, DC
Objective: Estimate the burden of hearing loss on quality of life (QoL) among the elderly with AARP® Medicare Supplement (i.e., Medigap) Insurance underwritten by UnitedHealthcare (or UnitedHealthcare of New York for insureds residing there).

Study Design: Data were obtained from insureds who completed the Health Update Survey (HUS). The HUS contained questions on demographics, comorbid conditions, and the Veterans RAND 12-item health status instrument (the VR-12), which was derived from the Short Form 12-item instrument. The HUS was mailed to a random sample of 15,000 insureds from 10 states in 2008. Survey respondents were divided into those with and without hearing loss based on their responses to a survey question. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to estimate the impact hearing loss had on physical and mental health aspects of QoL, while controlling for patient demographics and comorbid conditions. The QoL metrics included the physical (PCS) and mental component scores (MCS) obtained from the VR-12 instrument.

Population Studied: Of the 5,515 respondents to the survey, a 37% survey response rate, 10.4% indicated hearing loss.

Principle Findings: Those with hearing loss averaged significantly lower PCS (-3.25, p<0.0001) and MCS (-3.23, p<0.0001) scores, compared to those who indicated no hearing loss.

Conclusions: The negative impact of hearing loss on QoL exceeded the burden of common comorbidities like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular conditions.

Implications for Policy: Doctors should screen for hearing loss among elderly patients, and interventions to treat it when found should be applied.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the burden hearing loss imposes on the quality of life among the elderly with Medigap insurance.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct and supervise Health Services Research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.