Screening attempts to detect disease in people who do not know that they have the condition. In the case of hearing loss, screening could lead to earlier detection in people who are not aware that their hearing is changing. It also may detect hearing loss in people who think their hearing may be getting worse but who have not chosen to talk to a health care professional about it. One potential benefit of detecting hearing loss early may be to prevent additional hearing loss through early treatment. Another possible benefit may occur if people who have not recognized their hearing loss or who have not wanted to talk to a health care provider about it discover – after they have been diagnosed and receive a hearing aid – that the untreated hearing loss was having a significant negative effect on their daily life.
Recently, the US Preventative health Task Force did not find enough evidence to prove or disprove that hearing screening would result in these potential benefits. The Task Force also found little evidence on potential harms. However, it is unlikely that there are important harms associated with screening and treatment for hearing loss, including the use of hearing aids.
How should you decide whether to be screened for hearing loss?
Consider your own health and lifestyle. Think about your personal beliefs and preferences for health care. Talk with your health care professional if you are concerned about your hearing or think your hearing may be getting worse.