Do you have someone in your life that you might suspect is having trouble hearing? Here are eight key questions you can ask your loved ones or friends who might have difficulty hearing from the global guidelines that suggest hearing aids may no longer be enough.
Peter’s experience-global cochlear implant task force
Did you know that people are more than twice as likely to get their pet checked by a vet than they are to get their own hearing checked?1
Yet “deafness or impaired hearing has a profound impact on people’s lives,” says Peter, a cochlear implant recipient from Australia.
“Unless you’ve really experienced that, you can’t fully understand it, nor could you possibly understand how profoundly impacted people’s ability to communicate with loved ones, family, friends, and socially,” he says.
Peter has been involved with an independent global cochlear implant (CI) task force along with hearing experts including audiologists, Ear Nose and Throat surgeons (ENTs), and cochlear implant recipients to develop new global Living Guidelines for cochlear implantation.
Global Living Guidelines for cochlear implantation
The guidelines have been developed to raise awareness of hearing health and address the gap between adults who could benefit from a cochlear implant and those who actually receive one.
Only 1 in 20 adults who could benefit from a cochlear implant have one,23 because many healthcare professionals, including general practitioners and audiologists, as well as the general population, lack awareness of cochlear implants and who would benefit from one.
To address this, the guidelines recommend that every adult older than 50 should have their hearing tested every 1–3 years.
Reflecting on his role in the task force, Peter says: “Those who have gone through the process are well placed to advise clinicians about what the experience is like, what it entails, and what could be done to improve the CI journey of potential recipients.”
If you know someone who is showing signs of trouble hearing, here’s a series of short questions that are part of a hearing screening checklist recommended in the guidelines. Answers to these simple questions show when it’s time to get checked by a hearing health professional.
Hearing screening checklist
Signs that hearing aids may not be providing enough benefit
- Do you have trouble hearing in one or both ears?
- Do you have trouble hearing over the phone?
- Do you find it hard to follow conversations when two or more people are talking?
- Do you regularly need to ask people to repeat what they are saying?
- Do you ever need to turn up the television volume so loud that others complain?
- Do you have trouble hearing because of background noise?
- Do ever think that other people seem to mumble?
- Do you find different speakers difficult to hear, such as children and people who are softly spoken?
- Carlson ML, Nassir AM, Marinelli JP, Lohse CM, Sydlowski SA, Hearing Health Collaborative. Awareness, perceptions, and literacy surrounding hearing loss and hearing rehabilitation among the adult population in the United States. Otol Neurotol. 2022;43:e323–e330.
- Sorkin DL. Cochlear implantation in the world’s largest medical device market: utilization and awareness of cochlear implants in the United States. Cochlear Implants International. 2013 Mar 1;14(sup1):S12–4.
- De Raeve L. Cochlear implants in Belgium: Prevalence in paediatric and adult cochlear implantation. Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol, Head Neck Dis. 2016 Jun 1;133:S57–60.