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Difficulty Hearing May Keep Older Patients from Actively Participating in their Health Care

In a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study of 13,940 adults age 65 years and older, nearly half reported difficulty hearing, and those reporting difficulty said that they had lower levels of active participation in their health care.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 12:01 am EDT
"For example, people with hearing loss may be unable to understand their doctor when she explains medication changes. Attending to hearing loss could pay off in greater patient involvement in care and better health."

In a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study of 13,940 adults age 65 years and older, nearly half reported difficulty hearing, and those reporting difficulty said that they had lower levels of active participation in their health care.

The study examined “patient activation,” or the knowledge, skills, and confidence that equip patients to participate actively in their health care. Compared with those reporting “no trouble” hearing, those reporting “some trouble” hearing had a 42 percent greater risk of low patient activation. For those with “a lot of trouble” hearing, the comparable risk increase was 70 percent.

The study’s authors noted that clinicians’ awareness of hearing loss, and the use of simple steps to improve communication, could allow patients to more actively participate, which could lead to improvements in their health.

“Poor hearing puts patients at risk for poor outcomes,” said senior author Dr. Jan Blustein, of New York University. “For example, people with hearing loss may be unable to understand their doctor when she explains medication changes. Attending to hearing loss could pay off in greater patient involvement in care and better health.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jgs.15833 

About Journal 

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) is the go-to journal for clinical aging research. We provide a diverse, interprofessional community of healthcare professionals with the latest insights on geriatrics education, clinical practice, and public policy—all supporting the high-quality, person-centered care essential to our well-being as we age. Since the publication of our first edition in 1953, JAGS has remained one of the oldest and most impactful journals dedicated exclusively to gerontology and geriatrics.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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