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Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2017 May;76(5):123-127.

Hearing and Balance Disorders in the State of Hawai'i: Demographics and Demand for Services.

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Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI (JWH, CM, HLL).


Hearing and balance disorders affect people of all ages. Among children, hearing loss affects speech and language development, academic performance, and psychosocial development. Hearing loss in adults negatively impacts work productivity, cognitive function, and psychosocial status. Prevalence of hearing loss in children in Hawai'i is higher than the national average. Research indicates that hearing loss is a prevalent condition among veterans and advanced age adults. This is of particular concern in Hawai'i as the state is home to many military training facilities and has a large elderly population. In contrast to the higher than average prevalence of hearing loss in Hawai'i, there is a relatively small number of practicing audiologists in the state. Audiologists are independent doctoral level professionals responsible for the assessment and non-medical management of hearing impairment, vestibular disorders, auditory processing disorder, auditory neuropathy, tinnitus, and related disorders. Currently, there is no formal audiology training program in Hawai'i to meet the needs for current or future hearing health professionals. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is developing a proposal for a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program to provide a comprehensive doctoral-level audiology curriculum and clinical training in order to graduate audiologists with knowledge and skills needed to serve people with hearing and balance disorders in Hawai'i. This review article describes the current status of hearing and balance disorders and services in Hawai'i and stresses the importance of early identification and intervention in remediating their effects in all ages, with a focus on the need for expanding hearing health services in Hawai'i.


Audiology; Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.); Hawai‘i; hearing loss; prevalence; screening

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