International task force of 52 hearing experts introduce new guidelines aimed to improve care and practice standards

The Mount Sinai Health System joined an international task force of 52 hearing experts to develop guidelines and guidance to improve the standard of hearing care for adults. The new Living Guidelines, released on World Hearing Day, detail best practices for treating and diagnosing hearing loss. One of the nine recommendations includes assessing adults for cochlear implants.

“The guidelines are a major step forward in ensuring that health care decisions are based on the best available evidence,” says Maura Cosetti, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Ear Institute of New York Eye and Ear of Mount Sinai, Director of the Cochlear Implant Program at the Mount Sinai Health System, and a member of the task force. “Before now, there were no international and patient-centered guidelines for hearing care and cochlear implants for adults in the United States and around the globe. The new codified recommendations are practice changing for accurately identifying hearing loss and those who would benefit from intervention and treatment. The Lancet journal has identified hearing loss as the No. 1 modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline—far exceeding things like smoking cessation and cardiovascular fitness. We know this will make a tremendous impact on patient care and in the lives of our patients.”

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with hearing loss is set to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. Hearing loss has been linked to decreased quality of life, cognitive decline, and depression, and a growing body of evidence suggests an association between hearing loss in older adults and neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia. Additionally, a person’s hearing loss can also have an impact on those close to them, including family and friends, studies show.

Experts say when patients do have hearing tests—which measure hearing loss in decibels—a level above 60 dB HL indicates severe hearing loss. However, among those who receive this result, few are referred to a hearing specialist to assess whether cochlear implants could be the most beneficial treatment option. Despite the potential benefits of cochlear implants, less than 1 in 10 eligible adults will receive one in their lifetime.

The new Living Guidelines make nine recommendations across hearing screening, specialist referral and evaluation, rehabilitation, and patient outcomes. The two-year research project looked at more than 13,000 peer-reviewed studies and involved a panel of 52 experts representing 58 organizations, including those living with hearing loss. The guidance and guidelines will be updated as new evidence is published.“The message for adults is simple: know your hearing number, and know your options,” Dr Cosetti says.

Source: Mount Sinai

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