Being Practical


Anchor lead: Knowing your hearing number will help in health related decisions, Elizabeth Tracey reports

There’s a compelling case to be made for reporting hearing levels using numbers that are already in use among audiologists. That’s according to Frank Lin, a hearing expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues in a recent position paper.

Lin: If you want to know whether or not your hearing theoretically puts you at risk of dementia, you have to know that number. I mean it’s based on that. And even among physicians like your internist, who’s taking care of you and wants to understand what your hearing is, mild, moderate and severe is not very helpful. But if they know what your number is they can say oh that’s the range where we can be thinking about this stuff and then you know you were only a thirty last year now you’ve really jumped to a forty, we probably need to do some further evaluation of that. The number is already there, it’s already measured, you just need to use that number and summarize it and tell patients what it is.  :30

Lin says it will take some time for a hearing number to gain traction among clinicians and with the public, but he believes it will become accepted and widely available, just as blood pressure numbers or weight are, and has just as many health implications. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.