a1 Center for Research on Aging, Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem, Israel
a2 Medical Division, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Tel Aviv, Israel
a3 Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem, Israel
a4 The Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel, Jerusalem, Israel
Objective: To improve audiology screening in general practice, using an intervention programme aiming to empower older adults and their general practitioners.
Methods: We conducted a quasi-experimental community study comparing 206 patients and two control groups (the first being 101 people registered with the same general practitioner, and the second 87 people registered with another general practitioner). Outcome measures were: rates of hearing tests in the six months before interview, and screening recommendation by the general practitioner.
Results: Amongst patients, there was a significant increase in numbers undergoing a hearing test, from 19 per cent before the intervention to 49 per cent two years later, while in the two control groups there was little change. Twenty-two per cent of patients and 19 per cent of the first control group reported that their physicians suggested undergoing a hearing test; the second control group subjects (whose general practitioners received no specific educational intervention) showed no change.
Conclusion: The two crucial factors for improving hearing screening uptake in the elderly are general practitioner education and patient empowerment.
(Accepted June 21 2011)
(Online publication April 12 2012)
Dr A D Heymann takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper
Competing interests: None declared