Unfortunately, hearing loss is not always taken seriously — even by the medical community. How many times has your primary care doctor asked you about your hearing loss or screened your family and friends for hearing loss? The answer for me is zero. This should not be the case. In my recent article for Hearing Tracker, I ask, “Why don’t doctors regularly screen their patients for hearing loss?” The answer might surprise you.
An excerpt from the article is below. To read the full post click here.
Why Screening for Hearing Loss Is Important
While sometimes dismissed as a regular part of aging, hearing loss can have significant implications for a person’s general health. Not only is hearing loss associated with a higher incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it is one of the largest modifiable risk factors for dementia. Hearing loss also usually comes with greater social isolation, a higher incidence of falls and higher hospital re-admission rates. It is not something to be overlooked.
Yet many physicians ignore it.
My doctors have never asked me about my hearing, even after I began wearing hearing aids. According to a June 2020 National Poll on Healthy Aging, this is the norm. In the poll, only 20% of adults 50-80 reported that their primary care physician asked them about their hearing in the past two years. For older adults who rated their hearing as fair or poor, the statistic ticked up to 26%. Men were more likely to have been asked about their hearing than women (24% vs 17%), as were those 65-80 years of age versus those aged 50-64 (25% vs 16%).
One Question Is All it Takes
This is a disappointing showing, especially since a preliminary hearing screening is fast and easy to do. According to the researchers at University of Michigan who oversaw the poll, “One efficient way to increase hearing evaluations among older adults in primary care is to use a single-question screener. The response to the question “Do you think you have hearing loss?” has been shown to be highly predictive of true hearing loss.
Read the full article on Hearing Tracker.