Current UK NSC recommendations > Hearing Loss (adult)

The UK NSC recommendation on Hearing loss screening in adults

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed January 2016
Next review due in 2019/20
Key downloads

A systematic population screening programme of hearing loss in older adults is not recommended.


Hearing loss in older adults is a serious public health problem. The evidence is too limited to establish the type of screening test to be used, the severity of hearing loss to target, the age of the population to be screened, the frequency of screening. The effectiveness of the long term use of hearing aids and on the effectiveness of additional interventions aimed at improving the duration of hearing aid use is also uncertain.


There remains an absence of RCT evidence demonstrating that screen detected hearing loss results in better outcomes compared with hearing loss detected through usual care.


Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

  •  research into screening and hearing loss found a number of problems which prevent the UK NSC recommending a screening programme


  •  the evidence is too limited to establish the best type of test to be used, the level of hearing loss to target, the age at which people should start to be screened and the amount of time between screening test


  •  there is also a lack of evidence about the acceptability of the available treatments


  • despite the high prevalence of hearing loss and many options for amplification, a significant proportion of those with hearing loss do not use hearing aids for any length of time


  • the research also reports a lack of evidence on the benefit from long term use of hearing aids

More about Hearing Loss (adult)

Hearing impairment, or deafness, is when hearing is affected by a disease, disorder or injury. Hearing loss can be present at birth or develop in childhood or adulthood.

» Read more about hearing impairment on NHS Choices


Action on Hearing Loss
Age UK
British Academy of Audiology
The British Association of Audiovestibular Physicians
British Geriatrics Society
British Society of Audiology
British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists
Deafness Research UK
The Ear Foundation
Faculty of Public Health
London North West Healthcare- ENT Department
National Community Hearing Association
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Screening for Life Coalition

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Adult hearing screening cover sheet March 2009 (PDF document, 80KB, 18/11/10)
icon Consultation Comments Redacted Part 1 (PDF document, 380KB, 15/01/16)
icon Consultation Comments Redacted Part 2 (PDF document, 1.52MB, 15/01/16)
icon Consultation Comments Redacted Part 3 (PDF document, 691KB, 15/01/16)

More options

Go to top