Online Program

Disease disparities among Individuals with moderate or worse hearing loss

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Amanda Reichard, PhD, Institute on Disability, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Background: Hearing loss (HL) affects 20% of Americans, yet little is known about associations with health conditions. The primary objective was to assess the prevalence of different health conditions in deaf and hard of hearing individuals (DHH). 

Methods: We used pooled data from the National Health Interview Survey (2011-2013) Person and Adult Samples, a nationally representative survey of the US civilian population.  Adults who self-reported HL (moderate or worse) were characterized as DHH and adults who self-reported having no disability as the hearing sample; individuals reporting other types of disability were excluded from both groups.  Analyses included logistic regression to examine disease prevalence among the DHH group compared to the hearing group, while controlling for covariates, for three age categories (18-44; 45-64; 65+). 

Results: DHH were more likely than hearing adults to be male, older, white, lower educated, and insured. In our adjusted multivariate analyses, DHH individuals in all age categories were significantly more likely to report the presence of cardiovascular disease (OR: 1.2-2.1), arthritis (OR 1.3-2.7), multiple chronic conditions (OR: 1.3-1.7), and to rate their health as fair or poor (OR: 1.7-3.0), when compared to hearing individuals. Odds of higher prevalence for other specific conditions for the DHH group compared to hearing peers varied by age group.

Implications: DHH individuals experience higher disease prevalence compared to their hearing peers.  Health care providers and organizations should ensure accessible health care and communication with their DHH individuals.  Health outreach should include messages (e.g. visual teaching aids) appropriately tailored for this group.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the health disparities experienced by deaf and hard of hearing individuals compared to hearing peers.

Keyword(s): Disabilities, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology of health and health care disparities among people with disabilities.
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.