Top 10 research priorities for mild-moderate hearing loss in adults

Date: 15 October 2015

Time: 01:00

Hearing loss psp

By Helen Henshaw - PSP coordinator.

Hearing loss has a significant impact on interpersonal communication, psychological well-being, quality of life and economic independence (Olusanya et al, 2014). Nevertheless, hearing continues to be an area in which there is low and highly variable take-up of available interventions and little systematic data for outcomes (Murray et al, 2013).

In 2014 the Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss PSP was established to gather and prioritise uncertainties in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mild to moderate hearing loss in adults. The PSP was coordinated by the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), in collaboration with Hearing Link, a UK charity for people with hearing loss and their friends & families, patients, clinicians, and their representative bodies.

The Top 10 unanswered questions into the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mild to moderate hearing loss in adults were decided during the final PSP workshop, held in Birmingham on 3 September 2015.

1.    What adverse effects are associated with not treating mild to moderate hearing loss in adults?
2.    Does the early fitting of hearing aid(s) result in increased patient benefit and/or improved cost-effectiveness of the service?
3.    Does the early fitting of hearing aids slow the rate of cognitive decline?
4.    What are the reasons for low hearing aid uptake, use and adherence?
5.    Can new technologies replace hearing aids?
6.    Can stem cell therapy offer a cure for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults?
7.    Does early identification, diagnosis and treatment of mild to moderate hearing loss prevent further deterioration of hearing?
8.    Could new developments to digital hearing aids offer improved speech perception in noisy environments?
9.    How realistic are hearing tests for assessing the everyday hearing abilities of adults with mild to moderate hearing loss?
10.  Could the use of real-world sounds to help program hearing aids in clinic (rather than tones or beeps) improve hearing aid effectiveness?

David Crowe, JLA Adviser for the PSP said:
“The final workshop used a tried and tested approach to inclusive decision making called nominal group technique, which encourages everyone at the workshop to contribute ending up with a consensus of the Top 10 priorities. The final top ten reflect a good balance of prevention, diagnosis and management questions, and will go forward to be promoted in a number of ways to disseminate the top ten as widely as possible to influence future research decisions.”

Helen Henshaw, PSP coordinator (NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU) said:
"It's been a pleasure to coordinate the mild to moderate hearing loss PSP, working alongside such passionate and engaged individuals. The final workshop allowed patients, family and friends, and clinicians to discuss and debate their reasons underpinning the prioritisation of particular research questions. Workshop discussions allowed all perspectives to be heard and considered, and the value of these discussions in shaping and agreeing the Top 10 priorities was evident both in the workshop itself, and from the feedback received from delegates who felt truly included in the priority setting process.”

References
Olusanya, B. O., Neumann, K. J. & Saunders, J. E. (2014). The global burden of disabling hearing impairment: a call to action. Bulletin to the World Health Organization, 92; 367-373. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.13.128728
Murray, C. J. L., Richards, M. A., Newton, J.N.  et al. (2013). UK health performance: findings of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet, 381; 997-1020. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60355-4.

  • Summary:
    Hearing loss has a significant impact on interpersonal communication, psychological well-being, quality of life and economic independence (Olusanya et al, 2014).
  • Year:
    2015