Factors Associated With Self-Perceived Hearing Handicap in Adults From Hispanic/Latino Background: Findings From the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

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Adults, Hearing handicap inventory, Hearing loss, Hispanic/Latino, Minority health


Objectives: We sought to determine what factors, including acculturation (language and social contact preferences), were associated with self-perceived hearing handicap among adults from Hispanic/Latino background. We utilized the Aday-Andersen behavioral model of health services utilization to frame our hypotheses that predisposing characteristics (age, sex, education, city of residence, Hispanic/Latino background, and acculturation), enabling resources (annual income and current health insurance coverage), and need (measured hearing loss and self-reported hearing loss) would be related to clinically-significant self-perceived hearing handicap as measured by the Hearing Handicap Inventory – Screening (HHI-S) version.

Design: We analyzed baseline data collected from 2008 to 2011 as part of the multisite Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Data were from 6585 adults with hearing loss (defined by a worse-ear 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz pure-tone average [PTA] of ≥25 dB HL and/or a 4000, 6000, and 8000 Hz high-frequency PTA of ≥25 dB HL) aged 18 to 74 years from various Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. We conducted a series of multivariable logistic regression models examining the roles of independent variables of interest representing predisposing, enabling, and need indicators on the occurrence of clinically-significant self-perceived hearing handicap (e.g., HHI-S score > 8).

Results: Among included participants, 953 (14.5%) had an HHI-S score >8. The final model revealed significant associations between predisposing characteristics, enabling resources, need, and HHI-S outcome. Predisposing characteristics and need factors were associated with higher odds of reporting self-perceived hearing handicap (HHI-S score >8) including acculturation as measured by the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (odds ratio [OR] = 1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09–1.50), female sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CI: 1.27–2.33), and poorer worse ear 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz PTA (OR = 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03); suggesting that a 5-decibel increase in a person’s PTA was consistent with 10% higher odds of a HHI-S score of >8. Greater enabling resources were associated with lower odds of reporting clinically-significant self-perceived hearing handicap: compared with individuals with income <$10,000/year, the multivariable-adjusted OR among individuals with income $40,000 to $7500/year was 0.55 (95% CI: 0.33–0.89) and among individuals with income >$75,000/year was 0.28 (95% CI: 0.13–0.59]; p-trend < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest there are associations between predisposing, enabling and need variables consistent with the Aday-Andersen model and self-perceived hearing handicap among adults from Hispanic/Latino background. The influence of language and culture on perceived hearing loss and associated handicap is complex, and deserves more attention in future studies. Our findings warrant further investigation into understanding the role of language and language access in hearing health care utilization and outcomes, as the current body of literature is small and shows mixed outcomes.

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Ear and Hearing, v. 42, issue 4, p. 762-771

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