Quality of life is commonly used to describe someone's broader health status: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization).
There has been considerable research demonstrating the negative impact hearing loss can have on an individual’s quality of life (QoL). This includes an increased risk of mortality, dementia, stroke, sight loss, depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation. People with hearing loss are also at greater risk of unemployment. We interviewed NHS audiologists to find out if they're aware of the range of QoL impacts and whether this has any influence on the advice they offer.
Findings and recommendations
The audiologists did have a good level of awareness of QoL issues and, where possible, they use this information to inform their advice. However, they highlighted several barriers which prevent them from providing the best support possible. These included a lack of continuity of care, with patients generally seeing a different audiologist at each appointment, services not being joined up and audiologists not always having the information to enable them to signpost to other services. Our report includes a range of recommendations aimed at audiology-related university courses, audiology departments and GPs.
Download our 'Quality Time' report to read our full findings and recommendations.