In the past three decades, many factors, not wholly unrelated, have stimulated interest in education and rehabilitation of persons with impaired hearing. They include development of refined electroacoustic instruments, particularly audiometers, to measure hearing loss; improvement of hearing aids; evolution of surgery for otosclerosis and of reconstructive surgical procedures for the middle ear1; development of promising investigative techniques in psychoacoustics, auditory biophysics, physiology, and microanatomy2-5; recognition of the problem of noise-induced hearing loss in industry and the armed forces6; awareness of hazards to hearing such as heredity, unfavorable prenatal conditions or perinatal stress or injury; and a growing public appreciation of the rehabilitative needs and the economic and social potential of handicapped persons.
Forward looking management of persons with impaired hearing requires (1) dissemination of information about hearing impairment and acoustic hygiene, (2) early identification through a "high-risk register," screening programs in clinics for babies and in
Silverman SR. Rehabilitation for Irreversible Deafness. JAMA. 1966;196(10):843-846. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100230087022