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Untreated hearing loss leads to an increased risk of dementia and depression. There is currently little evidence to support the benefits of hearing screening in asymptomatic older adults. The main aim of the study was to compare three hearing screening protocols that differed in their level of support by the primary care clinic and provider. The protocols varied in setting (in-clinic vs. at-home screening) and in primary care provider encouragement for hearing screening. In total, 660 adults (65–75 years) completed the trial in multiple centres. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients who completed the hearing screening within 60 days of a routine primary care visit. All patients who had provider encouragement and support to complete the screening in the clinic completed the screening (100%) vs. 26.8% with encouragement to complete the screening at home. For patients who were offered hearing screening at home, completion rates were similar regardless of provider encouragement (26.8% with encouragement versus 22.7% without encouragement). Of all patients who failed the hearing screening, 38.9–57.1% (depending on group) scheduled and completed a formal diagnostic evaluation. Giving provider encouragement and screening facilities in the primary care clinic led to a significantly higher rate of patient adherence with hearing screening.

A Pragmatic Clinical Trial of Hearing Screening in Primary Care Clinics: Effect of Setting and Provider Encouragement.
Smith SL, Francis HW, Witsell DL, et al.
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Clair Saxby

University Hospital Plymouth, UK.

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