Assessment of Hope for Hearing program in Michigan

Program

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The University of Michigan recently assessed the results of its partnership program with the Hope Clinic, the Hope for Hearing program, which provides free hearing aids to adults who do not have medical insurance.

MedicalXpress reports that the program was started in 2010 to provide Hope Clinic patients with access to specialty care. “We saw there was a need for hearing aids,” explains Aileen P. Wertz, MD a fifth-year resident in otolaryngology who also sees patients at the Hope Clinic. “Over half of the patients referred to us with ear complaints had hearing loss and could simply benefit from a hearing aid.”

The feasibility and outcomes of the program were recently assessed by the team, that includes Wertz and her colleagues, and the findings were published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. According to Wertz, “During the study period – September 2013 through March 2016 – we garnered 84 hearing aids, and most of them were donated. Thirty-four patients were [found] to be eligible for the free program and were offered hearing aid services. Of them, 20 patients (59%) have been fitted or are being fitted with free hearing aids.”

The study shows that the program is working and that there is potential for it to grow. Wertz says the Hope for Hearing program is looking for ongoing funding to cover the costs of ear mold and hearing aid supplements. “This hearing aid program began with an established, successful academic center/community program partnership,” she adds. “That was an important factor because enthusiastic audiologists and otolaryngologists were already invested and volunteering regularly at clinics.”

Source: MedicalXpress; Wertz AP et al. Comprehensive Hearing Aid Intervention at a Free Subspecialty Clinic. JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. 2017 Jun 15.

C.S.