University of Oulu

Costs and effectiveness of hearing aid rehabilitation in the elderly

Saved in:
Author: Vuorialho, Arja1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Erratum: Erratum (PDF)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-10-17
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 6 of Oulu University Hospital, on October 27th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Doctor Erna Kentala
Professor Dafydd Stephens


Hearing aid (HA) rehabilitation was studied in northern Finland. The costs of HA fitting were examined at two hospitals, Kainuu Central Hospital and Oulu University Hospital. The patients were visited and interviewed at their home and use of HAs was charted. The benefit of HAs was evaluated using generic and disease-specific questionnaires. The effect of follow-up counselling of HA users on HA use and on the benefit of HAs was studied.

The proportion of all HA possessors that are regular users has clearly increased during the past twenty years, and the number of non-users, in particular, has decreased significantly. Only 5.3% of first fitted HAs were not in use in 2001.

The costs of HA fitting in 2000 were approximately € 900. There was not much difference in the costs between Kainuu Central Hospital and Oulu University Hospital. The price of a HA accounted for somewhat less than half of the total hospital costs, and the costs of the audiology personnel made up roughly a third of the overall costs.

Emotional problems of HA users were significant before HA fitting, but six months after HA fitting the number of patients who felt handicapped by their hearing problems had decreased significantly. This could be seen in the results of both the social and the emotional items of the disease-specific health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) measure, the short version of the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly (HHIE-S). The benefit could not, however, be shown with the generic HRQOL instrument, the EuroQol questionnaire (EQ-5D), which apparently lacks sensitivity for measuring changes brought about by audiological intervention.

Follow-up counselling of HA users can significantly increase HA use and decrease the number of non-users. It can also significantly increase the users’ handling skills. The cost of follow-up counselling is approximately € 83 per fitted HA, which is an 8.7% increment to the calculated cost of fitting a HA.

see all

Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-8231-0
ISBN Print: 951-42-8230-2
Issue: 896
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.