Hearing healthcare professional toolkit (CUNY - US)

Hearing healthcare toolkit for use in primary and geriatric care

According to theWorld Health Organization estimates, 299 million men and 239 woman have hearing loss (Pacala & Yueh, 2012). Globally, adult onset hearing loss is the second leading cause of years living with disability (YLD) behind depression and is a larger non-fatal burden than alcohol use, osteoarthritis and schizophrenia (Mathers, Smith & Concha, 2003). Approximately 34 to 36 million Americans report suffering from some degree of hearing impairment and this number is projected to rise to 52.9 million by the year 2050. Extrapolating from a number of population based studies, hearing loss prevalence ranges from 30 to 47 percent among persons 65+ years.

Age-related hearing loss is considered a “triple threat” to patients for the following three reasons:

1. Clinically significant hearing impairment is itself a disability and is an indication for effective remediation in its own right.

2. Hearing loss interferes with a patient’s ability to be treated for other medical conditions because it hinders an individual’s ability to engage with physicians as well as other caretakers and understand treatment advice and directives. 3. Research suggests that hearing loss may actually accelerate some disabilities such as cognitive dysfunction and vestibular impairment. The prevalence, co-morbidity and disabling effects of hearing loss underscore the need for aggressive preventive programs that identify conditions such as hearing loss which threaten health outcomes.

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