In March 2021, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published their recommendation regarding screening for hearing loss in older adults. Their conclusion was that for asymptomatic adults age 50 and over, “the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for hearing loss in older adults.” Many medical and hearing professionals strongly disagreed with this recommendation – including Starkey’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Archelle Georgiou. In a recent Sound Bites podcast, host Dave Fabry, Ph.D. and Archelle talked about this issue and she explained how primary care physicians can, and should, screen for hearing loss.
Archelle Georgiou, MD — “Everybody listening probably knows as well that a screening test for hearing loss at the primary care level is to simply ask an individual, ‘Are you having trouble hearing?’ It's just a question.
It could be on the pre-visit questionnaire, it could be a question that happens in the review of systems when a primary care doctor is just going through a whole series of symptoms that you may or may not have. Asking that question is a validated screening question for hearing loss and it's also a very important question to just doing a thorough history and physical exam.
I mean, every medical school in the country teaches you as a physician how to do a history and physical. It's a template and asking questions: Do you have abdominal pain? Do you have trouble with your vision? Do you have trouble with your hearing? It's just part of being a good doctor.
So... I'm not saying ignore the US Preventive Services Taskforce guidelines. But I'm saying that if you're a really good doctor, you are going to ask that question. And if you ask that question, you are screening. And I think we'd make progress on identifying individuals who then need to be referred to hearing professionals to get their hearing formally tested.”
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