Workshop on Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging

Type: Stand Alone Workshop
Topics: Aging, Health Services, Coverage, and Access, Public Health
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Activity Description

The impact of hearing loss on healthy aging in older adults has largely not been considered despite hearing loss being independently associated with cognitive and physical functional decline, an increased risk of developing dementia, mortality, and increased rates of hospitalization and health care utilization. Hearing loss may contribute to these outcomes through a variety of pathways, including social isolation, increased cognitive load, and poor health literacy, yet few studies address age-related hearing loss in the context of healthy aging and public health.

Reasons underlying the low rate of comprehensive hearing loss treatment include:

  • Lack of awareness among health professionals and others that hearing loss is a determinant of healthy aging
  • Lack of awareness among health care professionals and the public of treatment options beyond traditional medical devices (e.g., hearing aids)
  • Insidious nature of hearing loss progression
  • Lack of third-party reimbursement and coverage for hearing healthcare services

An IOM committee will plan a public workshop to:

  1. Describe and characterize the public health significance of hearing loss and the relationship between hearing loss and healthy aging
  2. Examine and explore current and future areas of research
  3. Discuss comprehensive hearing rehabilitative strategies, including innovative models of care
  4. Explore innovative hearing technologies, as well as barriers to their development and use
  5. Consider and discuss short- and long-term collaborative strategies for approaching age-related hearing loss as a public health priority (e.g., developing preventive intervention strategies; improving public awareness; and enhancing professional education).

Previous Meetings for this Activity