New evaluation concludes not enough evidence to recommend Hearing Screening for adults in the US.

A new report on hearing screening for non-sympotic adults over 50 with age related hearing loss by the US Preventative Task Force has concluded that they cannot recommend hearing screening for this group. This was on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence “to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for hearing loss in older adults.”  The report did note that  “Hearing loss can adversely affect an individual’s quality of life and ability to function independently and has been associated with increased risk of falls, hospitalizations, social isolation, and cognitive decline.” The Task Force also acknowledged NICE evidence from the UK – which shows that hearing aids are effective and an individual’s needs, not thresholds alone, should form the basis of provision.

The report can be accessed at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/hearing-loss-in-older-adults-screening 

The friends of Congress which brings together nonprofit hearing health organizations in the U.S. commented on report;

In March 2021, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued recommendations regarding hearing screening for older adults over the age of 50. While we understand the gaps in research identified by the USPSTF, given the significance of hearing health to overall health and the susceptibility of older adults to hearing loss, we believe additional research to support a universal hearing screening recommendation for older adults is needed and should be prioritized. Thus, we are seeking Congress to convey the importance of building the research base for older adult hearing screening.” 

CIICA notes that the World Hearing Report does recommend hearing screening for older adults which they see as cost-effective for adults above 50 years of age with a possible return of 1.62 International dollars for every 1 dollar invested in hearing screening in high-income countries. (WHO, World Hearing Report page 91-92) 

21 April 2021

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