Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

School of Aging Studies

Major Professor

Kathryn Hyer, Ph.D., M.P.P.


aging, hearing loss, minority health


The purpose of this dissertation was to understand perceived hearing loss and hearing health care use among older adults from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds using the Andersen model of health care utilization as a framework. A cross sectional analysis of audiometric and survey data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos was used to estimate factors that characterize perceived hearing handicap and hearing aid use, and to determine hearing aid use rates in a large group of older Hispanic/Latino adults. Data came from 6970 adults aged 45 to 76. Results revealed that self-perceived hearing handicap is significantly correlated to measured hearing levels, and is characterized by health insurance status, age, sex, pure tone average, and language acculturation. Reported hearing aid use was characterized by poorer measured pure tone average of the better ear, higher Hearing Handicap Inventory – Screening scores, and current health insurance. Overall hearing aid uptake rate among included individuals was 3.7%. Hearing aid uptake rates among included individuals were low compared to rates of clinically significant hearing loss. The primary variable associated with underutilization of hearing aid uptake for those who could pose to benefit was a lack of health insurance.