Background. Though hearing loss affects millions of people in the United States alone, there is a lack of funding for care that is affordable, accessible, and preferrable for patients. Specifically, there appears to be a research gap in the literature for effective care solutions for patients with hearing loss under the age of 26. This gap is concerning in that hearing loss can affect the academic, social, and emotional development of younger populations. Additionally, hearing loss is a major contributor to lower levels of satisfaction with quality of life and is linked to depression in some patients.
Objective. This systematized review of the literature aims to look at a wide scope of existing studies on patient care for hearing loss, in general. The review concentrates on youth affected by hearing loss, the care available and received by this population, and patient preferences for available technology and treatment.
Methods. The search will be conducted using PubMed with key search terms “hearing loss,” & “access to care,” & “patient preferences.”
Results. So far, the review has shown that a vast majority of the literature focuses on the elderly populations while younger populations may suffer greater losses over a lifetime with hearing loss. Another reoccurring theme in the literature is the fact that clinicians dictate treatment plans with little input from their patients and often prescribe hearing aids as the only option, even if they lack in terms of improving a patient’s quality of life.
Conclusions. More research must be conducted on patient preferences for treatment of hearing loss. Furthermore, research and funding must address the lack of effective treatments to better young adult patients’ quality of life.