Nearly 38 million Americans have hearing loss. Understanding how sensory deficits such as hearing loss, which limit communication, impact satisfaction has implications for Medicare value-based reimbursement mechanisms. The aim of this study was to characterize the association of functional hearing loss and dissatisfaction with quality of health care over the past year among Medicare beneficiaries.
Cross-sectional study of satisfaction with quality of health care among Medicare beneficiaries with self-reported trouble hearing from the 2015 Medicare Current Beneficiaries Survey. There were 11,441 Medicare beneficiaries representing a 48.6 million total weighted nationally representative sample.
Forty-eight percent of Medicare beneficiaries reported a little or a lot of trouble hearing. Medicare beneficiaries with a little trouble hearing (odds ratio=1.496; 95% confidence interval, 1.079–2.073; P=0.016) and a lot of trouble hearing (odds ratio=1.769; 95% confidence interval, 1.175–2.664; P=0.007) had 49.6% and 76.9% higher odds of being dissatisfied with the quality of their health care over the previous year, respectively.
Medicare beneficiaries with functional hearing loss had higher odds of dissatisfaction with health care over the past year compared to those without functional hearing loss. Given Medicare’s reliance on patient satisfaction as a value-based measure for hospital reimbursement, interventions to address hearing loss in the health care system are needed.