(HealthDay)—Many patients with self-reported hearing loss do not receive medical evaluation and recommended treatments, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Hossein Mahboubi, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of California in Irvine, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of responses from participants in the 2014 National Health Interview Survey who responded to the hearing module questions.
The researchers found that 16.8 percent of the 239.6 million adults indicated that their hearing was less than excellent/good, varying from "a little trouble hearing" to "deaf." In the preceding five years, about 20.6 percent of these adults had visited a physician for hearing problems. Of these, 32.6 and 27.3 percent were referred to an otolaryngologist and audiologist, respectively. Functional hearing was reported as the ability to hear whispering or normal voice, to only hear shouting, and not appreciating shouting (95.5, 3.4, and 1.1 percent, respectively). A cochlear implant was recommended for 5.3 percent of the last group, and 22.1 percent received one. Overall, 32.2 and 28.0 percent of the adults who indicated their hearing ranged from a little trouble hearing to deaf had never seen a clinician for hearing problems and had never had their hearing tested, respectively.
"Improved awareness regarding referrals to otolaryngologists and audiologists as well as auditory rehabilitative options among clinicians may improve hearing loss care," the authors write.
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