Deafness and Hearing Loss in Primary Care

There are 11 million people with hearing loss across the UK and with an ageing population, this is expected to increase to 15.6 million by 2035. Hearing impairment can have a major impact on daily functioning and quality of life. It can affect communication, social interactions and work leading to loneliness, emotional distress and depression. 

RCGP is working with Action on Hearing Loss to help create resources to give GPs the confidence to recognise the symptoms of hearing loss and appropriately refer people for a hearing assessment and support the implementation of changes in surgeries to improve the accessibility of primary care services. We aim to standardise variations in accessibility to GP practices for the hearing impaired and ensure deafness and hearing loss are considered across all aspects of primary care activity and help support GPs implement latest NICE Guidelines and NHS Accessibility Quality Standards and Guidance across the UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Care Quality Commission (CQC) and National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) have recognised hearing loss as a major public health issue that must be considered in the strategies and plans aiming to reduce the impact of other long-term conditions. National strategies on deafness and hearing loss and NHS accessibility guidance and quality standards are in place and we want to help support GPs implement them.

Aims of the project

  1. To improve the primary care team’s understanding about deafness, hearing loss and highlight the importance of good communication
  2. To improve the identification of deafness and hearing loss in primary care and the quality and timeliness of referrals
  3. To give GPs the confidence to innovate and make changes to primary care policy and practice to improve the quality of care for people who are deaf or have hearing loss
  4. To support GPs to implement the latest NICE Guidelines and NHS Accessibility Quality Standards and Guidance across the UK

Key outputs

  •  Deafness and Hearing Loss Toolkit
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • Active Practice Charter and Standards to make your practice ‘Hearing Friendly’
  • Educational Event

Clinical team

Dr Devina Maru, RCGP National Clinical Champion for Deafness and Hearing Loss

Dr Devina MaruDr Devina Maru is a GP Speciality Registrar in Greenwich, London and the Associate in Training (AiT) Representative on the South London Faculty Board. She completed her Masters in Audiological Science, Faculty of Brain Sciences at University College London (UCL) during her medical degree.

Dr Maru published her national research on the ‘Current Practice of Ototoxicity Management Across the United Kingdom’ in the International Journal of Audiology and was then invited to sit on the Ototoxicity Committee for the Department of Defence Hearing Centre of Excellence Pharmaceutical Interventions of Hearing Loss Working Group. It is a worldwide committee compromising doctors, scientists and researchers across the world with an interest in ototoxicity and otoprotection, helping the Department of Health, veterans, and civilian populations.

As part of Tinnitus Awareness Week, she helped host a workshop in mindfulness which involved mediation and yoga for tinnitus patients. She has clinical experience in audiology across London including both NHS and private sector in hearing and balance, audiology rehabilitation, and paediatric audiology.

To find out more, please get in touch via circ@rcgp.org.uk

This project is funded thanks to an external educational grant from the British Irish Hearing Manufacturers Association (BIHIMA) in accordance with the RCGPs sponsorship policy.

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