Hearing Loss in the Older Adult

Dr. Allan Ho, MBBS, MSc, FRCS(ORLHNS), FRCSC,1 Co-author: Brendan McDonald MA, MClSc, R.Aud, 2

1Grey Nuns Hospital, Edmonton, AB.

2Clinical Audiologist, Edmonton Ear Clinic in Sherwood Park, AB.


Abstract: Hearing loss has a profound impact on an individual. A hidden disability, hearing loss disrupts the way we communicate and ultimately limits our ability to socialize and engage with others. Hearing loss is the most common communication disorder in the older adult population. Our aim is to update readers about types of hearing loss, and to provide specific information on intervention options for conductive hearing loss. This article will address implantable hearing devices used to correct conductive loss and recent technological advances in these devices.
Key Words: hearing loss, hearing aids, bone-conduction device, hearing implant, osseointegration.

Any patient with a conductive hearing loss or mixed hearing loss should be referred to an otolaryngologist.
Choosing the right candidate for a bone-anchored hearing system involves a multidisciplinary approach.
Otolaryngology and audiology must work together to evaluate the best surgical and audiological candidates for these devices.
Bone conduction hearing devices are a viable option for patients with conductive and mixed hearing losses where a conventional hearing aid is not a good choice.
Assessment and patient selection for bone-conduction hearing implants require a multidisciplinary approach with otolaryngologists and audiologists. Best candidates meet criteria both surgically and audiologically.
Softband bone-conduction trials with an audiologist can be used to demo and counsel patients on the device and technology. It is non-invasive, only requiring the external processor and a specialized headband to demonstrate its function.
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This article was published as part of Managing the Health of Your Aging Patient: Therapies that Could Help Improve Quality of Life eCME resource. The development of Managing the Health of Your Aging Patient: Therapies that Could Help Improve Quality of Life eCME resource was supported by an educational grant from Medtronic Canada.