Michael M. McKee, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, spoke to Reuters Health on the hidden costs of untreated hearing loss. McKee authored an associated commentary in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery entitled "The Invisible Costs of Hearing Loss." The piece explains and assesses new research from Johns Hopkins University, which tracked claims data over a ten year period, determining the longer term health care costs associated with untreated hearing loss, also published in the November 2018 issue of JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
In the Reuters article, McKee notes that a patient's hearing loss may often go unacknowledged in clinical encounters, causing a rift in communication and weakening treatment. He recommends:
Clinicians should speak directly to patients in a quiet room, follow up to see if they understood and can repeat back what was said. There are also portable hearing devices that could be used in hospitals and doctors' offices to help make it easier for patients to communicate with clinicians.
McKee is a family physician with hearing loss and primary care researcher specializing in the care of deaf and heard of hearing patients and their experiences in the health care system. He leads the Deaf Health Clinic at the Dexter Health Center, along with Philip Zazove, M.D., professor and the George A. Dean M.D. Chair of Family Medicine. Dr. McKee is the current president of the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses (AMPHL).
Article citation: Mckee MM. The Invisible Costs of Hearing Loss. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. November 2018. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2018.3100.
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