Increasing access to hearing rehabilitation for older adults

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To provide an update on the recent research and policy developments affecting the current and future care of the 23 million older Americans with untreated hearing loss.

Recent findings

Increasing evidence supports the association of age-related hearing loss with significant negative outcomes that affect the ability of older adults to age well. Despite an evolving understanding of the role hearing loss plays in the well being and vitality of older adults, the vast majority of older adults go untreated and hearing health care disparities exist. Recent work to understand the multitude of factors involved in hearing health care decisions, coupled with innovative approaches and technology to deliver hearing care, aim to provide more older adults with equal access to the tools needed to age well. Most importantly, significant national efforts and policy proposals substantiate these efforts and will be reviewed.

Summary

Age-related hearing loss is a critical public health issue that affects almost all older adults. Through the application of novel approaches and perspectives, the delivery of hearing health care for older adults is evolving to provide more affordable and accessible care. Accompanying policy efforts provide the necessary support needed to increase access to care significantly.

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