The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a report, “The Promise of Assistive Technology to Enhance Activity and Work Participation,” on May 7, which includes a chapter on hearing-related technology, the Hearing Industries Association (HIA) announced.
Among other conclusions, the panel notes that “proper fitting and training are complex but necessary elements of maximizing performance among users of hearing devices. Consumers who work with providers trained in the use of properly prescribed and fitted hearing devices can expect better results than those who use off-the-shelf.”
A Prepublication Copy can be downloaded or purchased at the NAS website.
The newly released NAS report describes hearing aids and hearing assistive technologies beyond hearing aids. In addition, the report reviews research on the negative impacts of untreated hearing loss, including a study that indicates a significant association between untreated hearing loss and limitations in the kind or amount of work that can be performed. According to the report, the odds of experiencing such limitations increases significantly with increases in the severity of hearing loss. The report also includes sections that summarize research on the effectiveness of hearing aids and other assistive devices, monitoring and evaluation of hearing loss, training and adaptation, and access and availability. The report draws five conclusions as follows:
- Qualified providers and clinics with the knowledge, skill, and expertise to properly evaluate, prescribe, and train people in the use of hearing devices are needed.
- Proper fitting and training are complex but necessary elements of maximizing performance among users of hearing devices. Consumers who work with providers trained in the use of properly prescribed and fitted hearing devices can expect better results than those who use off-the-shelf products.
- Even with advances in technology, hearing aids and other hearing assistive devices may help but do not fully mitigate impairments or restrictions on participation caused by hearing loss. Environmental and personal factors are as important in determining the overall communicative functioning of individuals with hearing loss.
- The establishment of objective measures of real-world communicative functioning is vital to promoting a better understanding of the effects on this functioning of audiometric hearing function and hearing devices.
- The widespread lack of insurance coverage for hearing devices and related services is an impediment to optimizing communicative functioning and maintaining gainful employment among adults with hearing loss.
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