The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a Framework for Providing Patient- and Family-Centered Audiological Care for Older Adults and Their Significant Others

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Abstract

Hearing impairment is highly prevalent in the older population, and it impacts communication and quality of life for both the people with the hearing difficulties and their significant others. In this article, typical audiological assessment and management of an older adult is contrasted with a best practice approach wherein the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework is applied. The aim of the comparison is to demonstrate how the ICF expands our focus: rather than merely focusing on impairment, we also consider the activities, participation, and contextual factors for both the person with the hearing impairment and his or her family. A case example of an older patient and her spouse is provided, and their shared experience of the patient's hearing impairment is mapped onto the ICF framework. Family-centered hearing care is recommended for individualizing care and improving outcomes for older patients and their families.

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