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Institute of Medicine Conducting Consensus Study on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is conducting a consensus study on accessible and affordable hearing health care for adults. Sponsored by several federal agencies, including the NIDCD, the National Institute on Aging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, along with the Hearing Loss Association of America, the study will provide background on the importance of hearing to individual and societal health, including issues such as isolation, social connectivity, well-being, and economic productivity. It will examine federal regulations for hearing aid dispensing by asking if current regulations provide a clinically meaningful benefit to adults with hearing loss, and what the required federal regulatory paradigm should be. The study will also address the affordability of non-surgical hearing aid devices and services. It will look at how affordability can be improved, how current approaches can be used or modified to increase access, and how new and innovative approaches (such as telehealth, mobile health, and team-based care) can be used to increase access and affordability. Challenges for select populations such as older adults and young adults will also be discussed. The committee will provide short- and long-term recommendations for solutions to these questions. The study recommendations are expected to be available in May/June 2016.
The IOM Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults held two public meetings on April 27 and June 30. The committee's next and last public meeting is September 10, at the Keck Center of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C. The IOM website provides more information about the consensus study, including registration for the September 10 meeting.
For more information about the NIDCD's work in the area of accessible and affordable hearing health care, see the summary of a 2009 research workshop.