Hearing Loss Health Care for Older Adults

Kevin J. Contrera, Margaret I. Wallhagen, Sara K. Mamo, Esther S. Oh, Frank R. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hearing deficits are highly prevalent among older adults and are associated with declines in cognitive, physical, and mental health. However, hearing loss in the geriatric population often goes untreated and generally receives little clinical emphasis in primary care practice. This article reviews hearing health care for older adults, focusing on what is most relevant for family physicians. The objective of hearing loss treatment is to ensure that a patient can communicate effectively in all settings. We present the 5 major obstacles to obtaining effective hearing and rehabilitative care: awareness, access, treatment options, cost, and device effectiveness. Hearing technologies are discussed, along with recommendations on when it is appropriate to screen, refer, or counsel a patient. The purpose of this article is to provide pragmatic recommendations for the clinical management of the older adult with hearing loss that can be conducted in family medicine practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-403
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Access to Health Care
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Hearing Loss
  • Otolaryngology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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