Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      Hearing well, living well, dying well: Hearing loss and end of life care

      Difficult Conversations National Clinical Lead, Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders and the Chief Executive of Action on Hearing Loss, Paul Breckell discuss why identifying and managing hearing loss at the end of life is so important.

      By: Paul Breckell | 09 April 2018

      Being able to communicate effectively, not only with doctors and carers but also with friends and family is arguably never more important than when nearing the end of life. Effective communication is, of course, essential to creating positive last years, months, weeks and days for individuals and meaningful, lasting memories for loved ones.

      71% of people over 70 and 75% of people in care homes have hearing loss. We know that hearing loss can make it difficult to communicate about the vital things that need to be discussed at the end of life, such as medication and choice of treatments. When you are able to hear well it can be difficult enough to discuss decisions such as resuscitation for example, but hearing loss, if not identified by a professional, provides another hurdle. Action on Hearing Loss found that nearly two-thirds of those with hearing loss who responded to a recent survey were unclear about the information they had been given by their GP, at least some of the time. This is despite recent legal duties placed on health and social care professionals to comply with the Accessible Information Standard.

      We also know that hearing loss can make it difficult to have more regular conversations which are equally important at the end of life, from sharing stories with loved ones to simply what’s happening that day, what the weather’s like. Research shows that hearing loss can lead to withdrawal from social situations and emotional distress, and people with hearing loss are twice as likely to develop depression.

      One significant barrier to the effective management of hearing loss at the end of life is the low diagnosis rate amongst people with hearing loss. While some think hearing loss is an inevitable consequence of ageing and don’t go for treatment, others struggle to get a referral to audiology from their GP, so for many, their hearing loss remains unmanaged during their end of life.

      This is despite gold standard evidence showing that hearing aids improve communication and even improve quality of life in terms of wider determinants of health for people with hearing loss. There is also good evidence that hearing aids reduce the risk of loneliness and depression, and may even reduce the rate of cognitive decline. Health and care professionals have a crucial role to play here. If hearing aids are fitted and managed effectively it can make a huge difference and the sooner they are fitted, the more likely it is that they will be used and found of benefit.

      For those already with hearing aids, a basic understanding of fitting and maintenance amongst carers - just knowing when to change the battery, for example - can transform people’s ability to communicate and their quality of life. Simple communication tips can also be adopted for those with or without hearing aids. A surprising number still think that shouting is the answer but speaking clearly and facing the person you’re speaking to can be far more effective.

      Without appropriate support, people who use British Sign Language (BSL) may also be at risk of worse care at the end of life. Having access to a qualified BSL interpreter is crucial for ensuring people who use BSL are able to participate fully in discussions about their care and treatment.

      This top tips guide produced by Action on Hearing Loss gives an overview of what professionals working with people at the end of life can do to identify and manage hearing loss, in line with individual choice and care needs, to help people to communicate effectively at this critical time.

      For further information, please visit:

      www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/goodpractice

      http://www.difficultconversations.org.uk/

      http://spcare.bmj.com/content/8/1/45

      Recent Posts

      International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

      Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus.

      By: Cláudia Gonçalves
      19 November 2019

      Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

      For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities.

      By: Kevin Taylor
      14 November 2019

      How Akouos Therapeutics is working to develop genetic therapies for hearing loss

      Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos Therapeutics (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name.

      By: Jim McLaughlin, Akouos Therapeutics
      14 November 2019

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Recent Posts

      International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

      Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus.

      By: Cláudia Gonçalves
      19 November 2019

      Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

      For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities.

      By: Kevin Taylor
      14 November 2019

      How Akouos Therapeutics is working to develop genetic therapies for hearing loss

      Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos Therapeutics (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name.

      By: Jim McLaughlin, Akouos Therapeutics
      14 November 2019

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      More like this

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​

      We campaign for changes that make life better for people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.