Help for homeless with hearing loss

© J. Evans
Data on the prevalence of hearing loss among the homeless are scarce and few programs exist to address the problem. The Tennessean reports that local community groups, a homeless shelter and a Metro Council member, who is incidentally an audiologist by profession, have joined forces in Nashville, Tennessee (USA) to launch a pilot project to screen homeless and low-income residents for hearing impairment.

The aim of the program is to begin collecting data on this population group and to provide a basis for future projects.

Of the 39 people screened at this first session hosted by The Room In The Inn homeless shelter, 19 passed the evaluation but 20 will need to undergo a more comprehensive assessment to check whether they require treatment. These 20 people will be referred to the Hearing Clinic at Tennessee State University, and audiologist Valeria Matlock, who participated in the screening session, expects that half of them may have significant hearing loss and may be candidates for hearing aids.

Some of the people who came in for screening have more immediate critical health problems. “While more minor health care needs such as hearing, dental and vision may not be the direct cause of homelessness, they are barriers that keep the poor from getting out of their situations,“ says Martina Condron, Recovery Community Director at the shelter.

Source: The Tennessean