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August 23/30, 2016

Priorities for Improving Hearing Health Care for Adults: A Report From the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Departments of Otolaryngology, Medicine (Geriatrics), Mental Health, and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Sticht Center on Aging, School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA. 2016;316(8):819-820. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7916

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies) have published a report1 that provides a comprehensive assessment of how to bring about more accessible and affordable hearing health care for adults in the United States. This report is timely given a concurrent focus on this issue by the White House President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST),2 and these efforts reflect a growing national momentum to address hearing loss as a critical public health issue.3,4 Importantly, the Academies committee studied the complete spectrum of hearing health care in its report and found that the barriers to access and affordability are rooted in poor societal awareness of hearing loss, limited and constrained accessibility to hearing health care solutions, high out-of-pocket costs for current models of treatment, and limitations of current hearing assistive technologies among others. The report presents a set of recommendations for the actions needed across government, industry, academia, and professional organizations to bring about the incremental—and occasionally disruptive—changes needed to improve hearing health care for all adults.