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Profound Hearing Loss: Addressing Barriers to Hearing Healthcare

Sheila R Pratt
Seminars in Hearing 2018, 39 (4): 428-436
The impact of profound hearing loss on infants and adults is variable and greatly influenced by improved audition derived from hearing aids and cochlear implants. However, barriers to healthcare, hearing healthcare in particular, can offset the benefits provided by these sensory devices. Common barriers include cost, location, availability of trained professionals, acceptance of the hearing loss, language and cultural differences, secondary disabilities, and mental health issues. These barriers and their distinct presentations vary somewhat by age, language, and where people live (urban vs. rural), and can interfere with receiving testing and devices in a timely manner. They also can limit auditory, speech and language therapies, and interfere with acceptance of the hearing loss and devices. Rehabilitation should focus on eliminating or reducing the adverse impact of these barriers on patients and their families. Some of which can be done through professional training and multidisciplinary activities, counseling, and community outreach.


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