Hearing loss is prevalent in the United States, with around 1 in 5 Americans over the age of 12 having some hearing loss, adding up to a total of 48 million Americans being affected.1 Hearing loss affects quality of life adversely, resulting in greater risk of dementia, falls and depression. Receiving hearing care is a complicated process due to the process-‐heavy system. Medicare doesn’t cover a hearing test unless it was referred to a patient by their primary health care provider. Ideally, a patient would receive a hearing screening, which would inform the primary care physician if they had a hearing loss, and if this loss was mild, moderate or severe, and then the primary care physician would refer them to an Audiologist or ENT. Shockingly, 89% of adults over 65 with hearing impairments say that their primary care physicians had never screened them for hearing loss or asked about their hearing health.5 This seems to be because patients usually present to a primary physician for other conditions unrelated to their hearing, and there is no time for the physician to inquire or screen for hearing health. However, in this same setting, nurses regularly conduct quick tests for blood pressure and general height/weight. Many authorities on the subject are recommending hearing screening be done at this primary stage in order to reduce the burden hearing loss places on people as well as insurance companies and the healthcare system. Having mandatory hearing screening at the primary healthcare stage requires a quick, cheap and easy screening tool.
Hearing loss screener