Health Fair and Telephone Screenings: Are they Worth It?
Earlier this year, Medwetsky and Scherer (2011) investigated the result of “getting the word out” about hearing loss at health fairs, open houses, and senior citizen facilities. Over three years (and some 54 screening events) 2,049 people were screened. One thousand three hundred and thirty-seven (1,337) people failed the screening. Eight hundred and eighty-six (886) received a recommendation for a comprehensive audiological examination. Three hundred and sixty-nine (369) eventually scheduled an appointment. Therefore, of the 1,337 people who failed the hearing screening, about 28 percent sought additional help.
More recently, Meyer et al (2011) investigated the actions of people who failed telephone-based hearing screenings (using “Telscreen,” a speech-in-noise task that has been validated and correlates well with four frequency pure tone screenings). One hundred and ninety-three (193) adults ranging in age from 24 to 93 years (112 females, 81 males) participated in a follow-up interview, months after their initial telephone screening. The authors report for every 100 people who fail a hearing screening only 36 people seek help. Of the 36 who seek help, some 13 people are recommended hearing aids and of those, seven follow the advice and acquire hearing aids—and of those 7, approximately 5 use and value their hearing aids. Therefore, the “success rate” (defined here more-or-less as people with hearing loss, seeking, acquiring, and using amplification) is 5 percent.
The authors conclude that a negative result on a hearing screening is not sufficient to prompt help-seeking (i.e., amplification) for people with “correctable” hearing loss.
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Meyer C, Hickson L, Khan A, Hartley D, Dillon H, Seymour J. (2011) Investigation of the Actions Taken by Adults Who Failed a Telephone-Based Hearing Screen. Ear & Hearing 32(6):720-731.
Medwetsky L, Scherer MJ. (2011) Factors Influencing Individuals' Decisions to Access Hearing Care Services. Hearing Review May:24-32.