Moderate-medicalisation and an age-neutral NHS hearing aid service

Article English OPEN
Brooke, RE ; Killan, EC ; Morrall, PA (2015)
  • Publisher: Mark Allen Healthcare
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: otorhinolaryngologic diseases

Age-related hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions experienced by adults. However, many individuals who would benefit from a hearing aid do not seek help, and many that do seek help, experience symptoms for several years prior to attending a hearing assessment. One of the main reasons for delayed access and poor hearing aid uptake is the stigma associated with hearing loss. Recently, there have been several calls to promote earlier and easier access. Recommendations such as the de-medicalisation of NHS hearing aid services have been suggested. In agreement with this, this article argues that approaches to reduce hearing loss stigma should be prioritised. However, it also proposes that a reduced form of medicalisation, rather than a de-medicalised approach is required. Furthermore, in addition to what it refers to as ‘moderate-medicalisation’, this article argues that a less ‘older-age-focused’ NHS hearing service will facilitate earlier access to assessment and hearing technology. Some service delivery changes that will promote moderate-medicalisation and an age-neutral service are suggested.
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