On January 13-14, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies sponsored the 2-day workshop “Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging” at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, DC.

Both days of the workshop’s presentations are available on streaming video at: http://www.iom.edu/Activities/PublicHealth/HearingLossAging/2014-JAN-13/Day%201/Welcome%20and%20Opening%20Remarks/1-Welcome-Video.aspx

According to the IOM-NRC’s description of the event, the impact of hearing loss on healthy aging in older adults has largely not been considered despite hearing loss being independently associated with cognitive and physical functional decline, an increased risk of developing dementia, mortality, and increased rates of hospitalization and healthcare utilization. Hearing loss may contribute to these outcomes through a variety of pathways, including social isolation, increased cognitive load, and poor health literacy, yet few studies address age-related hearing loss in the context of healthy aging and public health.

The IOM public workshop was designed to:

• Describe and characterize the public health significance of hearing loss and the relationship between hearing loss and healthy aging

• Examine and explore current and future areas of research

• Discuss comprehensive hearing rehabilitative strategies, including innovative models of care

• Explore innovative hearing technologies, as well as barriers to their development and use, and

• Consider and discuss short- and long-term collaborative strategies for approaching age-related hearing loss as a public health priority (eg, developing preventive intervention strategies, improving public awareness, and enhancing professional education).

The workshop featured some of the top researchers and experts in the field of aging and hearing loss. Co-chaired by Alan M. Jette of the Boston University School of Public Health and Frank R. Lin of Johns Hopkins University, speakers included, but were not limited to: Luigi Ferrucci, National Institute on Aging; James Firman, National Council on Aging; Kathleen Pichora-Fuller, University of Toronto; Barbara Weinstein, CUNY; Lucille Beck, Department of Veterans Affairs; Theresa Hnath Chisolm, University of South Florida; Nicolai Bisgaard, GN ReSound; Thomas Powers, Powers Family Practice; Brenda Battat, HLAA; Cynthia Compton-Conley, Compton-Conley Consulting; Eric A. Mann, FDA; Carole Rogin, HIA; Howard Hoffman, NIDCD; Amy Donahue, NIDCD; Judy Dubno, Medical University of South Carolina; as well as reactions and discussion from Firman, Regina Davis Moss of the American Public Health Association, James Pacala of the American Geriatrics Society, and Charlotte Yeh of AARP.