Nearly 20% of U.S. Americans report a hearing loss, yet our current healthcare system is poorly designed and equipped to effectively care for them. Individuals with hearing loss report communication breakdowns, inaccessible health information, reduced awareness and training by healthcare providers, and decreased health care satisfaction while struggling with inadequate health literacy. These all contribute to health inequities and increased health care expenditures and inefficiencies. It is time to redesign our health care for these persons, using exist models of best practices and accessibility to mitigrate these inequities and improve their quality of care. An overview of system-, clinic-, and provider-level issues and suggested improvements are presented, including strategies to improve screening and identification of hearing loss, adopting universal design and inclusion principles, implementing effective communication approaches, leveraging the use of assistive technologies and training and diversifying a team to better care for patients with hearing loss.
Is this paper peer reviewed? This paper is published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Reseach. This journal uses double-blind peer review, where the authors and the reviewers do not know each other’s identities.
Who paid for this project? This project stems from the 2021 Research Symposium at ASHA Convention, which was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health under award R13DC003383. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Are there any conflicts of interest? There are no conflicts of interest.