Nurses with undiagnosed hearing loss: Implications for practice

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Hearing loss affects 36 million people in the United States of America, including 17% of the adult population. This suggests some nurses will have hearing losses that affect their communication skills and their ability to perform auscultation assessments, potentially compromising patient care and safety. In this article, the authors begin by reviewing the hearing process, describing various types of hearing loss, and discussing noise-induced hearing loss and noise levels in hospitals. Next, they consider the role of hearing in nursing practice, review resources for hearing-impaired nurses, identify the many costs associated with untreated hearing loss, and note nurses' responsibility for maintaining their hearing health. The authors conclude that nurses need to be aware of their risk for hearing loss and have their hearing screened every five years.

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