Healthcare-Seeking Behaviors Among Medicare Beneficiaries by Functional Hearing Status

Heng Yu H. Lin, Amber Willink, Anna M. Jilla, Heather M. Weinreich, Esther S. Oh, Mariah Robertson, Hannah V. Ward, Nicholas S. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Hearing loss is associated with higher health expenditures and poor healthcare utilization. This study aims to build on these findings by characterizing the association between hearing status and healthcare-seeking behaviors among Medicare beneficiaries. Methods: Cross-sectional log-binominal regression was used to assess the association between self-report hearing and healthcare-seeking behaviors (avoidance or delay of care, personal health concerns, and sharing health status) using the 2016 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (N = 12,140). Results: Beneficiaries with trouble hearing had significantly higher risks of avoiding and delaying health care compared to those without trouble hearing. Conversely, trouble hearing was not associated with concern for health status or sharing health status. Discussion: These findings may help explain higher costs associated with hearing loss as avoidance of care can exacerbate health problems. Further work is needed to understand underlying causes and whether addressing hearing loss modifies the observed association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-771
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Medicare
  • health services
  • healthcare help-seeking
  • hearing loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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