• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information

NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Cover of Screening for Hearing Loss in Adults Ages 50 Years and Older

Screening for Hearing Loss in Adults Ages 50 Years and Older

A Review of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Evidence Syntheses, No. 83

Investigators: , MD, , MLS, , BS, , MD, and , MS.

Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research
Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 11-05153-EF-1

Structured Abstract

Background:

Hearing loss is common in older adults. Screening could identify untreated hearing loss and lead to interventions to improve hearing-related function and quality of life.

Purpose:

To update the 1996 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force evidence review on screening for hearing loss in primary care settings in adults ages 50 years and older.

Data Sources:

We searched Ovid MEDLINE from 1950 to July 2010, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials through the second quarter of 2010 to identify relevant articles. We supplemented electronic searches with reviews of reference lists of relevant articles and solicited additional citations from experts.

Study Selection:

We selected randomized trials and controlled observational studies that directly evaluated effects of screening for hearing loss in older (ages ≥50 years) adults. To evaluate indirect evidence on screening, we also included studies on the diagnostic accuracy of screening tests for hearing loss used in primary care settings, and randomized trials and controlled observational studies that reported clinical outcomes associated with use of amplification.

Data Extraction:

One investigator abstracted data and a second investigator checked data abstraction for accuracy. Two investigators independently assessed study quality using methods developed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Data Synthesis:

Evidence on benefits and harms of screening and treatments for hearing loss was synthesized qualitatively. One large (n=2305) randomized trial found that screening for hearing loss was associated with increased hearing aid use at 1 year, but screening was not associated with improvement in hearing-related function. There is good-quality evidence from 20 studies on diagnostic accuracy that common screening tests for hearing loss can help identify patients at higher risk for hearing loss. The whispered voice test at 2 feet and a single question regarding perceived hearing loss were comparable with a more detailed screening questionnaire or a hand-held audiometric device for identifying at least mild (>25 dB) hearing loss. Negative results using a hand-held audiometric device may be the most useful finding for ruling out at least moderate (>40 dB) hearing loss. One good-quality randomized trial found that immediate hearing aids were effective compared with wait-list control for improving hearing-related quality of life and function in patients with mild or moderate hearing loss and severe hearing-related handicap. We did not find direct evidence on harms of screening or treatments with hearing aids, but harms are likely to be small based on the non-invasive nature of screening and treatment, with no known serious adverse events.

Limitations:

We excluded non-English language studies, included studies of diagnostic accuracy in high-prevalence specialty settings, and did not construct outcomes tables.

Conclusions:

Additional research is needed to understand effects of screening compared with no screening on health outcomes, and to confirm benefits of treatment under conditions likely to be encountered in most primary care settings.

Contents

540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850; www​.ahrq.gov

3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Mail Code BICC, Portland, OR 97239; www​.ohsu.edu/epc

3800 North Interstate Avenue, Portland, OR 97227

Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge Rongwei Fu, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, for statistical assistance; Daphne Plaut, MLS, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, for conducting literature searches; the expert reviewers of the draft report; AHRQ Medical Officer Mary Barton, MD, MPP; and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force leads Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD, Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH, and Diana Petitti, MD, MPH, for their contributions to this report.

Prepared for: Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, Contract Number: HHSA-290-2007-10057-I-EPC3, Task Order No. 3. Prepared by: Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center, Oregon Health and Science University2 and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research3.

Suggested citation:

Chou R, Dana T, Bougatsos C, Fleming C, Beil T. Screening for Hearing Loss in Adults Ages 50 Years and Older: A Review of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Evidence Synthesis No. 83. AHRQ Publication No. 11-05153-EF-1. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; March 2011.

This report is based on research conducted by the Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Contract No. 290-2007-10057-I). The investigators involved have declared no conflicts of interest with objectively conducting this research. The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s), who are responsible for its content, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. No statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The information in this report is intended to help clinicians, employers, policymakers, and others make informed decisions about the provision of health care services. This report is intended as a reference and not as a substitute for clinical judgment.

This report may be used, in whole or in part, as the basis for the development of clinical practice guidelines and other quality enhancement tools, or as a basis for reimbursement and coverage policies. AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of such derivative products may not be stated or implied.

1

540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850; www​.ahrq.gov

2

3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Mail Code BICC, Portland, OR 97239; www​.ohsu.edu/epc

3

3800 North Interstate Avenue, Portland, OR 97227

Bookshelf ID: NBK53864PMID: 21542547
PubReader format: click here to try

Views

  • PubReader
  • Print View
  • Cite this Page
  • PDF version of this title (735K)

Related information

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...