Hearing Loss, Deafness, and the Hard-of-Hearing

The American Academy of Family Physicians encourages all family physicians to become knowledgeable in the prevention, evaluation and treatment of deafness and hearing loss in patients of all ages.

Family physicians are encouraged to:

  • Counsel their patients to protect their hearing health and to prevent hearing loss, especially noise-induced hearing loss, whenever possible.
  • Family physicians are further encouraged to consider the needs of their deaf and hard-of-hearing patients including cultural identification, educational history, measured hearing, hearing aids, cochlear implants, other assistive devices, and hearing-ear dogs.
  • Ask whether deaf and hard-of-hearing patients prefer spoken or visual language.
  • If possible, interpreters experienced in medical interpretation for the hearing impaired should be made available when requested by the patient.
  • Provide visual aids to facilitate patient education and communication.

Finally, family physicians should be sensitive to and use nomenclature acceptable to deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. (1988) (2011 COD)