Carrie Nieman, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Competition Sponsor: U.S. National Academy of Medicine
Age-related hearing loss is nearly universal and is strongly and independently associated with negative outcomes in almost every domain of the aging process. The broader individual and public health implications of hearing loss in older adults are now being recognized at the national and international level. Strategies to ensure affordability and access to hearing care for adults are urgently needed. The 2017 U.S. legislation that created the designation of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, which are expected to debut in the U.S. market by the end of 2020, creates a unique and timely opportunity to expand hearing care delivery models. The overarching objective of this proposal is to implement a community health worker (CHW) approach to providing a basic level of hearing care to vulnerable older adults. Within public health, CHW models of care have long been considered an efficacious and cost-effective approach to increasing access to care and addressing disparities but has traditionally not been incorporated into hearing care practice. This proposal will extend an unconventional approach to hearing care that advances a new model of hearing care while simultaneously building capacity and addressing the growing hearing care needs of aging societies, regardless of resource setting, in order to ensure all older adults have the tools needed to age well.
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