The Cost-Effectiveness of Hearing Aid Fitting in the Netherlands

M.A. Joore*, H. Stel van der, H.J.M. Peters, G. Boas, L.J.C. Anteunis

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To determine the cost-effectiveness of hearing-aid fitting. Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis using a Markov model based on aggregate data and results from a prospective intervention study. Setting: The cost-effectiveness study was based in the general community. The prospective study was hospital based, as 85% of the first-time hearing-aid users attend a hospital in the process of hearing-aid fitting. Patients: The prospective intervention study included adult first-time hearing-aid users with no contraindications for hearing-aid use. Intervention: The usual process of hearing-aid fitting in the Netherlands. Main Outcome Measure: Costs per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). The QALYs were based on EuroQol scores. We included direct and indirect costs in the analysis. Results: The mean improvement on the EuroQol measure was 0.03 (95% confidence interval [C1], -0.03 to 0.08), and on the hearing-specific visual analog scale, 0.27 (95% CI, 0.22-0.31). The base-case outcome based on the EuroQol was 615807/QALY (US $17072/QALY) (CI, -1624239/QALY to 163718/QALY). Conclusions: On the basis of this base-case estimate, fitting of hearing aids is considered a cost-effective health care intervention. The Cl indicates that the result is not unambiguously positive, probably because the EuroQol lacked sensitivity for the evaluation of hearing-aid fitting. Until now, no study has found an effect of hearing-aid fitting on generic quality of life. Therefore, measures are needed that are suitable for the evaluation of the effects of interventions for sensory disabilities, such as the fitting of hearing aids, on generic quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-304
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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