Hearing and hearing loss – an eye care practitioner’s guide

Bill Harvey explains the nature of hearing and hearing loss and how it is best addressed, both through screening and correction and through adapted communication techniques

Eye care practitioners see patients on a regular basis so are ideally placed to detect conditions other than just those specific to the eye that might otherwise not be directly reported. They can then ensure that patients understand that help is available and how this might be sought.

Hearing loss occurs for many reasons, is often age-related and in many cases linked with sight loss. Furthermore, loss is often insidious in onset and may be causing problems for individuals and the people around them in a way that they might not easily pinpoint. Eye care practitioners should be aware of the nature of hearing loss, be able to identify patients where there may be a concern, and know the best advice to help the patient address the deficit. It is also essential to be able to communicate effectively with patients who have hearing loss in order to provide adequate eye care. This article is an overview of hearing loss and aims to offer the essentials that should be useful to all categories of registered eye care practitioner.

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