Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Au.D.

Program

Audiology

Advisor

Barbara Weinstein

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology

Keywords

Hearing, hearing screening, primary care physician, physician screening for hearing loss, hearing health awareness, physician patient communication

Abstract

Age related hearing loss (ARHL) is considered a public health hazard in large part due to the negative health outcomes with which it is associated, such as, cognitive decline, increased risk of falling, social isolation and depression. Despite the health-related costs of ARHL, physician’s rarely screen older adults for ARHL. Some of the reasons previously cited include a lack of time and resources in medical offices, a lack of reimbursement for such measures, or lack of knowledge of risk factors associated with hearing loss. The latter is problematic as improved communication among physicians and their patients is an important correlate of positive health outcomes especially in persons with multimorbidity. While available research has revealed the importance of communication for patient centered care and optimal health outcomes, little emphasis is placed on hearing status and how it may affect compliance with physician recommendations and understanding of one’s medical health conditions. This is problematic as older adults and physicians alike are unaware that hearing loss can cascade into socially and economically costly health outcomes. In an effort to determine physician attitudes towards and practice of screening for hearing loss, physicians representing many specialties were surveyed. Their responses shed light into their perceived barriers to performing routine hearing screening and physician knowledge of factors which are associated with an increased risk of hearing loss. The results of this survey will v inform the development of a practical hearing screening protocol to be used by physicians in order to more efficiently identify older adults at risk for hearing related communication deficits.

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