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Lack of ear care knowledge in nursing homes

Authors Solheim J, Shiryaeva O, Kvaerner KJ

Received 27 May 2016

Accepted for publication 21 July 2016

Published 30 September 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 481—488

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S113689

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Jorunn Solheim,1 Olga Shiryaeva,1 Kari J Kvaerner2

1Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, 2C3 Centre for Connected Care, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Background: Rising life expectancy means an increase in the number of elderly people with hearing loss in the population. Many elderly people live in nursing homes, with varying care needs. A substantial proportion of these people will need help with their hearing aids and other hearing devices.
Objective: The objective of the study has been to assess the knowledge, experience, skills, competence, and need for information of staff at nursing homes in relation to residents’ hearing loss and hearing aids.
Materials and methods:
One hundred and ninety-five employees at seven nursing homes participated in the study. The main approach was a descriptive study, using questionnaires.
Results: The main findings are that 73% of informants found that many residents need help with their hearing aids. Only one-tenth report that they know enough about the residents’ hearing aids. Almost four out of five informants find that the residents become socially isolated as a result of hearing loss. Seventy-eight percent agree to some extent that more residents would benefit from hearing aids.
Conclusion: Staff at nursing homes have insufficient knowledge about hearing loss and hearing aids. Increased focus on the elderly with hearing impairment in nursing homes is needed. Contact between nursing homes and audiological specialists should be improved to best follow-up hearing loss and hearing aids.

Keywords: hearing aids, nursing staff, hearing impairment, institutionalized elderly

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