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New Study Shows Critical Importance of Hearing Care | NEWS-Line for School and Community Healthcare Professionals

New Study Shows Critical Importance of Hearing Care


The American Academy of Audiology endorsed the Medicare Audiology Access Improvement Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) that will provide seniors with more timely and robust access to services provided by audiologists.

The importance and timeliness of the re-introduced bill was reaffirmed this past week by an important study in the Lancet and a recent advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General (May 2023) about consequences of social isolation and loneliness. The study, Hearing intervention versus health education control to reduce cognitive decline in older adults with hearing loss in the USA (ACHIEVE): a multicentre, randomized controlled trial, showed that hearing intervention—hearing care by an audiologist along with the use of hearing aids in older adults at greater risk for dementia due to chronic health issues—may help to reduce the rate of cognitive decline. Simultaneously, the advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General warned of the myriad consequences of social isolation—a condition also caused by hearing loss and readily addressed by audiologic care.

Both the study and the advisory point out that isolation and loneliness contribute to generalized health decline. “We see the contribution of hearing loss to social isolation and understand the benefits of hearing care in reducing the potential harm,” explained Virginia Ramachandran, Au.D., Ph.D., president of the American Academy of Audiology. “Results from the ACHIEVE study and the Surgeon General’s advisory remind us that everyone, especially those who are at risk for health problems, should have their hearing checked and establish appropriate hearing care.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 48 million Americans suffer from some type of hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the U.S. and is twice as prevalent as diabetes or cancer.

“It’s important to address these serious issues by reducing barriers to proper hearing health care,” Ramachandran added.

The Medicare Audiology Improvement Act of 2023 is an updated version of similar legislation introduced in previous Congresses that reflects input from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It would provide Medicare coverage of both diagnostic and treatment services provided by audiologists starting in 2025; remove physician order requirements so beneficiaries have improved access to audiologists and reclassify audiologists as practitioners under the Medicare statute enabling services to be furnished through telehealth beyond the current December 31, 2024 expiration.

The American Academy of Audiology has worked in partnership with the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in endorsing the Bill.

For more information on the American Academy of Audiology, visit www.audiology.com To locate an audiologist, visit www.howsyourhearing.org

The American Academy of Audiology is the world's largest professional organization of, by and for audiologists. Representing the interests of audiologists and future audiologists nationwide, the Academy is dedicated to providing quality hearing care services through professional development, education, research, and increased public awareness of hearing and balance disorders. For more information, visit www.audiology.org

Source: The American Academy of Audiology

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