The need for improved detection and management of adult-onset hearing loss in Australia

Catherine M McMahon, Bamini Gopinath, Julie Schneider, Jennifer Reath, Louise Hickson, Stephen R Leeder, Paul Mitchell, Robert Cowan

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Adult-onset hearing loss is insidious and typically diagnosed and managed several years after onset. Often, this is after the loss having led to multiple negative consequences including effects on employment, depressive symptoms, and increased risk of mortality. In contrast, the use of hearing aids is associated with reduced depression, longer life expectancy, and retention in the workplace. Despite this, several studies indicate high levels of unmet need for hearing health services in older adults and poor use of prescribed hearing aids, often leading to their abandonment. In Australia, the largest component of financial cost of hearing loss (excluding the loss of well-being) is due to lost workplace productivity. Nonetheless, the Australian public health system does not have an effective and sustainable hearing screening strategy to tackle the problem of poor detection of adult-onset hearing loss. Given the increasing prevalence and disease burden of hearing impairment in adults, two key areas are not adequately met in the Australian healthcare system: (1) early identification of persons with chronic hearing impairment; (2) appropriate and targeted referral of these patients to hearing health service providers. This paper reviews the current literature, including population-based data from the Blue Mountains Hearing Study, and suggests different models for early detection of adult-onset hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number308509
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of otolaryngology
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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