Public Health fails to meet needs of Australian hearing loss sufferers

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Older Australians are not receiving adequate hearing services nor are they using hearing aids properly, according to researchers at the Hearing Hub, a centre for hearing health care excellence in Melbourne. As a result of misuse, many are abandoning their hearing aids.

“In Australia, the largest component of financial cost of hearing loss (excluding the loss of well-being) is due to lost workplace productivity,” say the researchers. “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.”

They say that given the increasing prevalence and disease burden of hearing impairment in adults, two key areas are not adequately met in the Australian healthcare system: early identification of persons with chronic hearing impairment and appropriate and targeted referral of these patients to hearing health service providers.

“To date, the Australian public health care system does not have an effective and sustainable hearing loss screening strategy for late onset hearing loss in adults to manage this problem,” they say.

The researchers reviewed the current literature, including population-based data from the Blue Mountains Hearing Study, and suggest different models for early detection of adult-onset hearing loss.

Source: International Journal of Otolaryngology, Volume 2013

R.S.