A Nationwide Study Examining Deafness Among Hospitalized Adults

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Audiol. 2021 Apr 6:1-6. doi: 10.1044/2021_AJA-20-00156. Online ahead of print.


Background It is unknown whether hospital outcomes differ among nonspeaking deaf patients compared to those without this disability. Objective This article aims to compare clinical outcomes and utilization data among patients with and without deafness. Design This study used a retrospective cohort study. Setting and Participants The participants included Nationwide Inpatient Sample, year 2017, hospitalized adults with and without diagnostic codes related to deafness and inability to speak. Method Multiple logistic and linear regression were used to compare in-hospital outcomes. Results Thirty million four hundred one thousand one hundred seventeen adults were hospitalized, and 7,180 had deafness and inability to speak related coding. Patients with deafness were older (mean age ± SEM: 59.2 ± 0.51 vs. 57.9 ± 0.09 years, p = .01), and less likely female (47.0% vs. 57.7%, p < .01) compared to controls. Those with deafness had more comorbidities compared to the controls (Charlson comorbidity score ≥ 3: 31.2% vs. 27.8%, p < .01). Mortality was higher among deaf versus controls (3.6% vs. 2.2%; p < .01); this translated into higher adjusted odds of mortality (adjusted odds ratio = 1.7. [confidence interval (CI) 1.3-2.4]; p = .01). Deaf patients had lower odds of being discharged home compared to controls {aOR} = 0.6, (CI) 0.55-0.73]; p < .01. Length of stay was longer (adjusted mean difference = 1.5 days CI [0.7-2.3]; p < .01) and hospital charges were higher, but not significantly so (adjusted mean difference = $4,193 CI [-$1,935-$10,322]; p = .18) in patients with deafness. Conclusions Hospitalized nonspeaking deaf patients had higher mortality and longer hospital stays compared to those without this condition. These results suggest that specialized attention may be warranted when deaf patients are admitted to our hospitals in hopes of reducing disparities in outcomes. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.14336663.

PMID:33823115 | DOI:10.1044/2021_AJA-20-00156

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