Using Cognitive Screening Tests in Audiology

Shen, J. et al. (2016) American Journal of Audiology. 25(4) pp. 319-331

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Purpose: The population of the United States is aging. Those older adults are living longer than ever and have an increased desire for social participation. As a result, audiologists are likely to see an increased demand for service by older clients whose communication difficulty is caused by a combination of hearing loss and cognitive impairment. For these individuals, early detection of mild cognitive impairment is critical for providing timely medical intervention and social support.

 

Conclusions: As health care professionals who serve the aging population, audiologists are likely to encounter cases of undiagnosed cognitive impairment. In order to provide timely referral for medical assistance as well as an optimized individual outcome of audiologic interventions, audiologists should be trained to recognize an abnormality in older clients’ cognitive status.

Read the full abstract here

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Application-Based Hearing Screening in the Elderly Population

Livshitz, L. et al. (2017) Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. 126(1) pp. 36-41

Objectives: The effects of age-related hearing loss are severe. Early detection is essential for maximum benefit. However, most hearing-impaired adults delay obtaining treatment. Diagnostic hearing testing at an appropriate facility is impractical, and new methods for screening audiometry aim to provide easy access for patients and reliable outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of application-based hearing screening in an elderly population.

Read the full article here

Affordable headphones for accessible screening audiometry: An evaluation of the Sennheiser HD202 II supra-aural headphone

Van der Aerschot, M. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 17 August 2016

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Objective: Evaluation of the Sennheiser HD 202 II supra-aural headphones as an alternative headphone to enable more affordable hearing screening.

Design: Study 1 measured the equivalent threshold sound pressure levels (ETSPL) of the Sennheiser HD 202 II. Study 2 evaluated the attenuation of the headphones. Study 3 determined headphone characteristics by analyzing the total harmonic distortion (THD), frequency response and force of the headband.

Study sample: Twenty-five participants were included in study 1 and 15 in study 2 with ages ranging between 18 and 25. No participants were involved in study 3.

Results: The Sennheiser HD 202 II ETSPLs (250–16000 Hz) showed no significant effects on ETSPL for ear laterality, gender or age. Attenuation was not significantly different (p > 0.01) to TDH 39 except at 8000 Hz (p < 0.01). Maximum permissible ambient noise levels (MPANL) were specified accordingly. The force of the headband was 3.1N. THD measurements showed that between 500 and 8000 Hz intensities of 90 dB HL and higher can be reached without THD >3%.

Conclusion: Sennheiser HD 202 II supra-aural headphones can be used as an affordable headphone for screening audiometry provided reported MPANLs, maximum intensities and ETSPL values are employed.

Read the abstract here

The Ear Foundation – Latest Adult Screening Report

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Image source: The Ear Foundation

On 17th March 2016 The Ear Foundation along with Action on Hearing Loss launched their report ‘Adult Screening: Can we afford to wait any longer’ in Westminster Central Hall with Lilian Greenwood, MP, and Adrian Davis.

 

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Image source: The Ear Foundation

Prior to the report launch a conference was held which was very well received and attended by NHS England  and along with Action on Hearing Loss, together we are pushing for adult hearing screening to be introduced.

Hearing loss is associated with a number of life limiting and expensive health consequences for individuals. For example:

  • Those with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, and those with severe hearing loss have five times the risk of developing dementia as those with normal hearing. (Lin 2013)
  • Older people with hearing loss are two and half times more likely to experience depression than those without hearing loss (Matthews 2013) and are also at increased risk of major depression and anxiety (Davis 2011; Gopinath et al., 2009).
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Image source: The Ear Foundation

View the full report here

 

The UK NSC recommendation on Hearing loss screening in adults

 

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed January 2016
Next review due in 2018/19
Key downloads
A systematic population screening programme of hearing loss in older adults is not recommended.

 

Hearing loss in older adults is a serious public health problem. The evidence is too limited to establish the type of screening test to be used, the severity of hearing loss to target, the age of the population to be screened, the frequency of screening. The effectiveness of the long term use of hearing aids and on the effectiveness of additional interventions aimed at improving the duration of hearing aid use is also uncertain.

 

There remains an absence of RCT evidence demonstrating that screen detected hearing loss results in better outcomes compared with hearing loss detected through usual care.