Onward Referral of Adults with Hearing Difficulty Directly Referred to Audiology Services

New Direct Referral Guidance from BAA

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Image source: BAA

This document is intended to guide Audiologists in service planning and in making referrals for a medical or other professional opinion.

Along with “Guidelines for Primary Care: Direct Referral of Adults with Hearing Difficulty to Audiology Services (2016) 1 ”, this document replaces the earlier guidelines (BAA 20092 , TTSA 19893,4 ) and has been approved by the Board of the British Academy of Audiology.

This document comprises a set of criteria which define the circumstances in which an Audiologist in the UK should refer an adult with hearing difficulties for a medical or other professional opinion. If any of these are found, then the patient should be referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department, to their GP or to an Audiologist with an extended scope of practice. The criteria have been written for all adults (age 18+), but local specifications regarding age range for direct referral should be adhered to.

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with “Guidelines for Primary Care: Direct Referral of Adults with Hearing Difficulty to Audiology Services (2016) 1 ”. Audiology services are expected to make reasonable efforts to make local GPs aware of this guidance and support their understanding of its application.

Read the full report here

Evidence-based guidelines for recommending cochlear implantation for young children: Audiological criteria and optimizing age at implantation

Leigh, J.R. et al. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 4 May 2016

Objective: Establish up-to-date evidence-based guidelines for recommending cochlear implantation for young children.

Design: Speech perception results for early-implanted children were compared to children using traditional amplification. Equivalent pure-tone average (PTA) hearing loss for cochlear implant (CI) users was established. Language of early-implanted children was assessed over six years and compared to hearing peers.

Study sample: Seventy-eight children using CIs and 62 children using traditional amplification with hearing losses ranging 25–120 dB HL PTA (speech perception study). Thirty-two children who received a CI before 2.5 years of age (language study).

Results: Speech perception outcomes suggested that children with a PTA greater than 60 dB HL have a 75% chance of benefit over traditional amplification. More conservative criteria applied to the data suggested that children with PTA greater than 82 dB HL have a 95% chance of benefit. Children implanted under 2.5 years with no significant cognitive deficits made normal language progress but retained a delay approximately equal to their age at implantation.

Conclusions: Hearing-impaired children under three years of age may benefit from cochlear implantation if their PTA exceeds 60 dB HL bilaterally. Implantation as young as possible should minimize any language delay resulting from an initial period of auditory deprivation.

Read the abstract here

NHS audiology – adult hearing services guidance

A series of guides have been published to help the NHS increase access, quality and choice in adult hearing services whilst making the most of available resources

The guides, published this week, advise how stakeholders in NHS hearing care can work together to deliver the goals in the Five Year Forward View – including putting patients first, improving access and follow-up, delivering more care out-of-hospital and making better use of limited resources. Most importantly the guidance sets the stage to take preventative health more seriously by thinking of hearing care as a public health, rather than medical, challenge.

The series of guides aimed at commissioners, providers, health and wellbeing boards and Healthwatch are available online from the National Community Hearing Association