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      NICE quality standard for hearing loss-supporting organisation

      Following the NICE Guideline for hearing loss in adults, the NICE Quality Standard on hearing loss in adults was published in July 2019. Action on Hearing Loss fed into the consultation for developing this quality standard, as it covers assessing and managing hearing loss in adults (aged 18 and over). It includes people presenting with hearing loss for the first time in adulthood whether it started in adulthood or earlier. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement and is aimed at healthcare commissioners, service providers, health and social care practitioners and the public.

      Statements in the Quality Standard include:

    • Adults with earwax that is contributing to hearing loss or other symptoms, or preventing ear examination or ear canal impressions being taken, have earwax removed in primary care or community ear care services.
    • Adults with sudden onset of hearing loss in one or both ears that is not explained by external or middle ear causes are referred for immediate or urgent specialist medical care.
    • Adults with rapid worsening of hearing loss in one or both ears that is not explained by external or middle ear causes are referred for urgent specialist medical care.
    • Adults presenting for the first time with hearing difficulties not caused by impacted earwax or acute infection have an audiological assessment.
    • Adults presenting with hearing loss affecting their ability to communicate and hear are offered hearing aids.
    • Adults with hearing aids have a follow-up audiology appointment 6 to 12 weeks after the hearing aids are fitted.

      Improving outcomes

      This quality standard is expected to contribute to improvements in the following outcomes for adults with hearing loss:

    • hearing ability
    • patient experience of primary, community and secondary care
    • health-related quality of life for adults with hearing loss, their families or carers and communication partners
    • level of social functioning
    • levels of participation in education
    • employment rates.