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March 23, 2021

United States Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation for Hearing-Loss Screening Among Older Adults: An Opportunity in Insufficient Evidence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021;147(6):500-501. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2021.0258

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently revisited and reviewed the evidence on assessing the balance of benefit and harm for screening older adults for hearing loss and reaffirmed the conclusion from its last review in 2012 that there is “insufficient evidence” to make a recommendation (I statement).1 The USPSTF report is based on an updated evidence report and systematic review performed by Feltner and colleagues.2 The group conducted a rigorous review of major databases and found that relatively few studies had reported on the benefits of hearing care intervention and those that had were not generalizable to the general population because they were mostly performed in veteran populations with no subpopulation analyses.3 Moreover, no studies assessed for evidence of the presence of unintended harms and consequences of hearing screening and intervention. Lastly, the review2 did conclude that multiple screening methods can accurately detect hearing loss in older adults.

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