Hearing loss is a major public health issue. It affects more than 11 million people across the UK – that’s one in six of us. The most common type of hearing loss is age-related hearing loss, which develops gradually with age and it is estimated that 75% of people in a care home have hearing loss – and that this will increase to 80% by 2032.
Previous research (A World of Silence) showed how if the hearing loss of care home residents is identified and managed effectively, there is a real chance of improving their quality of life, by reducing loneliness and social isolation, and by improving their overall health and wellbeing.
Following on from this research, we have undertaken a project, funded by the Department of Health, to pilot and test changes that can be made to improve the diagnosis and management of hearing loss amongst care home residents. As a result of the project’s findings, we have produced this guide and a range of easy-to-use information sheets, to support care home managers and staff to:
- Identify and check for hearing loss
- Improve hearing aid use and management
- Meet communication needs
- Provide assistive listening devices
- Identify and manage other ear problems, such as tinnitus and ear-wax blockages
- Appoint hearing loss champions