Published: June 11, 2024

Clinical Practice Guideline: Age-Related Hearing Loss

The new guideline provides 11 evidence-based key action statements to guide clinicians in treating patients who are candidates for screening or treatment of ARHL.


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The AAO-HNSF recently published the Clinical Practice Guideline: Age-Related Hearing Loss in the May 2024 issue of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. This clinical practice guideline (CPG) provides clinicians with evidence-based recommendations on how to screen for and manage age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in patients 50 years and older.

ARHL is the most common sensory disorder in the older population. Between the ages of 65 to 74, one in three adults experience hearing loss. The condition is associated with various sociodemographic factors and health risks including dementia, depression, cardiovascular disease, and falls. ARHL is caused by both genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to loud noises, medications that harm the ears, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption. Approximately 466 million people worldwide are thought to suffer from ARHL and the associated health effects.

“Age-related hearing loss is underdiagnosed and undertreated despite being the most common sensory deficit in the aging population. With almost 50% of the population over 75 reporting hearing loss, having a clinical practice guideline allows all clinicians to provide better healthcare to those with hearing loss based on research and best practices,” said Betty S. Tsai Do, MD, the CPG Development Group Chair.2

Despite the high prevalence of ARHL and its effect on health outcomes, there were no evidence-based, multidisciplinary clinical practice guidelines previously to assist clinicians with identifying, managing, and educating patients about this condition. The new guideline provides 11 evidence-based key action statements (KAS) to guide clinicians in treating patients who are candidates for screening or treatment of ARHL.

Notably, the ARHL CPG recommends that all patients aged 50 and above should be screened for hearing loss because detecting hearing loss early and taking appropriate steps can help minimize the negative effects associated with untreated hearing loss.

The GDG consisted of 20 panel members representing experts in otolaryngology, otology, audiology, neurology, geriatrics, and primary care. The group also included a consumer representative and a public health expert. Panel members came from a variety of practice settings, training backgrounds, and stages of training.

Cpg Resources

In addition to the full CPG, there is a wealth of supplemental materials available for otolaryngologists, non-otolaryngologist clinicians, and patients to learn about the new recommendations, including guidance for clinicians and care partners about how to better communicate with those suffering from hearing loss. The following resources can also be accessed at www.entnet.org/arhlcpg.* 

Publications:
Clinical Practice Guideline: Age-Related Hearing Loss
Executive Summary: CPG Age-Related Hearing Loss
Plain Language Summary for Patients: CPG Age-Related Hearing Loss

Podcasts:
Podcast: Implications for Otolaryngologists
Podcast: Implications for Non-Otolaryngologists

Supplemental Materials:
Flowchart: Age-Related Hearing Loss
Recommended Hearing Care Pathways (mild to moderate)
Recommended Hearing Care Pathways (moderately severe to profound)
Summary of Key Action Statements from CPG Age-Related Hearing Loss
Research Needs: Section from the CPG Age-Related Hearing Loss

Patient Information:
Patient Handout: FAQs about Age-Related Hearing Loss
English version
Spanish version

Patient Handout: The Impact of Age-Related Hearing Loss
English version
Spanish version

*The free Guideline Central Flipbook and Guideline Central Official Quick Reference Pocket Guide and App will be available soon. 

The CPG authors are:
Betty S. Tsai Do, MD, Chair of the GD); Matthew L. Bush, MD, PhD, MBA, Assistant Chair; Heather M. Weinreich, MD, MPH, Assistant Chair; Seth R. Schwartz, MD, MPH, Methodologist; Samantha Anne, MD, MS, Methodologist-in-training; Oliver F. Adunka, MD, MBA; Kaye Bender, PhD, RN; Kristen M. Bold, MPAS, PA-C; Michael J. Brenner, MD; Ardeshir Z. Hashmi, MD; Ana H. Kim, MD; Teresa A. Keenan, PhD; Denée J. Moore, MD; Carrie L. Nieman, MD, MPH; Catherine V. Palmer, PhD; Erin J. Ross, DNP, APRN, CNP; Kristen K. Steenerson, MD; Kevin Y. Zhan, MD; Joe Reyes, MS (AAO-HNSF staff); and Nui Dhepyasuwan, MEd (AAO-HNSF staff).


References

  1. Tsai Do, BS, Bush, ML, Weinrich, HM, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Age-Related Hearing Loss. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 2024;171(S1):S1-S54
  2. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2024. “New Clinical Practice Guideline Provides Evidence-Based Recommendations for Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL).” AAO-HNS, April 30, 2024.

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