A New Number


Anchor lead: Hearing is a simple number you should know, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Hearing should be a reported number just like cholesterol. That’s according to Frank Lin, a hearing expert at Johns Hopkins, in a recent paper advocating for widespread adoption of the practice.

Lin: You know roughly your blood pressure, people who have diabetes will know their sugar, and things like that. The metrics really matter. Because the metrics are how we communicate things, it’s how you understand if it’s getting worse or better, it’s how you compare yourself to others in many ways. But hearing, ironically your realize, no one knows their quote unquote hearing number. We say oh it’s a mild, moderate, it’s severe. And there’s actually not a hearing number but the ironic thing about that is there are tons of hearing numbers.  Hearing is actually really straightforward and easy to measure with incredible precision. That’s what audiology is all about.  :30

Lin and colleagues have developed a staged plan to roll out awareness of hearing numbers and how important they are. The plan starts with getting experts in hearing to recognize and utilize a standard, then expanding that to other physicians and the public. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.