Innovation  |   June 2008
Use of a Hearing and Balance Screening Survey With Local Primary Care Physicians
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeffrey L. Danhauer
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Kristina E. Celani
    University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Carole E. Johnson
    Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Contact author: Jeffrey L. Danhauer, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences; 1476 N. Fairview Avenue, Goleta, CA 93117. E-mail: danhauer@speech.ucsb.edu.
Hearing & Speech Perception / Balance & Balance Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging
Innovation   |   June 2008
Use of a Hearing and Balance Screening Survey With Local Primary Care Physicians
American Journal of Audiology June 2008, Vol.17, 3-13. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2008/002)
History: Accepted 04 Feb 2008 , Received 15 Jun 2007 , Revised 02 Dec 2007
American Journal of Audiology June 2008, Vol.17, 3-13. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2008/002)
History: Accepted 04 Feb 2008 , Received 15 Jun 2007 , Revised 02 Dec 2007

Purpose: This investigation is a follow-up to a national survey of hearing/balance screening and referrals in elderly patients by primary care physicians (PCPs). This local study focused on PCPs who actually treated elderly patients and could be contacted and followed in a single community.

Method: PCPs in Santa Barbara, CA, were surveyed with a 35-item questionnaire via mailings, phone calls, and hand delivery to determine their participation in, knowledge of, and attitudes toward hearing/balance screening and referrals for the elderly. Potential respondents were 154 PCPs obtained from WebMD, Google, and telephone and provider directories for Santa Barbara. Of the 154 surveys mailed/delivered, 33 were returned undeliverable or unusable, and 32 were returned usable, producing an overall response rate of 26.5%.

Results: Results were similar to those of the national study; PCPs were unlikely to screen for hearing/balance problems unless patients complained. The PCPs were unaware of patient self-report screening methods and probably would not use them in the future.

Conclusions: These PCPs acknowledged the importance of hearing/balance problems in the elderly, but their responses demonstrated insufficiencies in knowledge and potential attitudinal, time, and reimbursement obstacles that could interfere with their screening for hearing/balance problems. Audiologists should partner with PCPs to improve ways of meeting patients' needs but must consider resource/payoff implications for such endeavours.

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