New Guidelines Issued for Age-Related Hearing Loss

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation released a new clinical practice guideline for managing age-related hearing loss in adults 50 and older. The guideline provides recommendations for identifying, educating about, and treating hearing loss, including screening, referrals, and individualized care.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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New Guidelines Issued for Age-Related Hearing Loss

New Guidelines Issued for Age-Related Hearing Loss

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation has released a new clinical practice guideline for managing age-related hearing loss (ARHL). Published online April 30 in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the guideline offers recommendations for identifying, educating about, and treating hearing loss in adults aged 50 and older.

Why this matters: Age-related hearing loss is a significant public health concern, affecting millions of older adults and impacting their quality of life. By providing healthcare providers with evidence-based guidelines for identifying and treating ARHL, these new recommendations have the potential to improve hearing outcomes and reduce healthcare costs associated with untreated hearing loss.

The guideline provides several key recommendations, including screening for hearing loss during healthcare encounters for those 50 and above, referring patients to clinicians who can perform audiograms when screening indicates potential hearing loss, and offering or referring for properly fitted hearing aids. It also advises evaluating cochlear implant candidacy for patients who still have hearing difficulties with well-fitted hearing aids.

Additionally, the guideline recommends ear canal and eardrum examination if screening suggests hearing loss, as well as identifying sociodemographic factors and patient preferences that may impact access to and use ofhearing healthcare. Lead author Dr. Betty S. Tsai Do emphasized the importance of this, stating,"The focus of individualized health care is the future of medicine, and as such, it is important that this clinical practice guideline incorporated that into the recommendations."

The guideline was developed by Dr. Tsai Do and colleagues from the Permanente Medical Group in Walnut Creek, California. In total, they developed 11 key action statements to guide the management of age-related hearing loss, with an emphasis on personalized care and considering social determinants of health in accessing and utilizing hearing health services.

Age-related hearing loss is a common condition impacting millions of older adults. These new clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation provide much-needed recommendations to help healthcare providers better identify and treat hearing loss in this population. By focusing on individualized care and access, the guidelines aim to improve hearing outcomes and quality of life for those affected by ARHL.