New NICE guidance on adult hearing loss published


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The National Institute for Clinical Excellence have released the ‘Guidance on Hearing Loss in Adults: Assessment and Management’. This guide for assessing and managing hearing loss in primary, community and secondary care aims to improve the quality of life for adults with hearing loss by advising healthcare staff on assessing hearing difficulties, managing earwax and referring people for audiological or specialist assessment and management.

The new NICE guideline is aimed at commissioners of health and care services, healthcare professionals and service users. Its recommendations include: the need for early audiological assessment of people with hearing loss; identifying which people with hearing loss require medical care as well as audiological care, to whom they should be referred and how quickly; proactive referral of people with dementia, mild cognitive impairment and learning disabilities.

From a management perspective, the guidance covers: removing earwax in primary and community care; criteria for MRI for hearing loss; conducting an audiological assessment; offering and fitting hearing aids; explaining how to use noise reduction features such as directional microphones; providing information about assistive listening devices; follow-up in audiology services and how to support people with hearing loss and improve their access to care.

NICE want this guideline to make a difference to people with hearing loss by making sure: any difficulties with hearing are picked up early and acted on; people are offered a hearing test as soon as they, their carer or doctor have concerns about their hearing; people are able to get the right type of care, information and support for their hearing loss and that people who need medical care for their hearing loss are referred to the right service and seen quickly when needed.