A James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership for Mild-Moderate Hearing Loss

We have co-ordinated an initiative to identify and prioritise research into mild and moderate hearing loss

The James Lind Alliance is a non-profit making initiative, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Its aim is to bring patients, carers, family members and healthcare professionals together to identify and prioritise research questions.

The top 10 ‘unanswered questions’ for research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mild-moderate hearing loss in adults were decided at the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership final workshop on Thurday 3rd September 2015:

  1. What adverse effects are associated with not treating mild to moderate hearing loss in adults?

  2. Does the early fitting of hearing aid(s) result in increased patient benefit and/or improved cost-effectiveness of the service?

  3. Does the early fitting of hearing aids slow the rate of cognitive decline?

  4. What are the reasons for low hearing aid uptake, use and adherence?

  5. Can new technologies replace hearing aids?

  6. Can stem cell therapy offer a cure for mild to moderate hearing loss in adults?

  7. Does early identification, diagnosis and treatment of mild to moderate hearing loss prevent further deterioration of hearing?

  8. Could new developments to digital hearing aids offer improved speech perception in noisy environments?

  9. How realistic are hearing tests for assessing the everyday hearing abilities of adults with mild to moderate hearing loss?

  10. Could the use of real-world sounds to help program hearing aids in clinic (rather than tones or beeps) improve hearing aid effectiveness?

Who is involved in the Partnership?

The Partnership has been set up with the James Lind Alliance.  The James Lind Alliance (JLA) is a non-profit making initiative which was established in 2004. It brings patients, carers and clinicians together to identify and prioritise the top 10 uncertainties, or 'unanswered questions', about the effects of treatments that they agree are most important.

Partner organisations in this initiative are listed below:

Hearing Link (user organisation)
NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit
Action on Hearing Loss
The British Society of Audiology
The British Academy of Audiology
The British Society for Hearing Aid Audiologists
Cochrane UK

The Partnership has been kindly funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

Click to download a summary of Partnership steering group members' individual biographies.  For more information on the Partnership, please contact the Partnership's steering group co-ordinator Dr Helen Henshaw.  Click on Helen's biography for more information.

Hearing Link logo - click to go to their websiteAction on Hearing Loss - click to go to their websiteBritish Society of Audiology logo - click to go on to their website

British Academy of Audiology logo - click to go on to their websiteBritish Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists - click to go to their website



I think that this Priority Setting Partnership on mild to moderate hearing loss is really important, because there is probably still much to learn about the effects, impact of and treatments for this range hearing loss. We want people as patients/clients and family members to be part of this process, because they hold a level of insight into this issue that is much sought-after and needed.

Linda Sharkey UK Director of Hearing Link

If the funding of research into hearing loss is to be targeted effectively, I believe it’s essential to seek the ideas and views of as many people with a hearing loss as possible about what aspects of deafness merit research. I’m delighted to be involved in this project and I look forward to helping to build a list of questions about mild to moderate hearing loss which will hopefully one day result in solutions to some of the challenges that people with hearing loss have to face.

Robin Wickes Hearing aid user and member of the Partnership steering group

Considering the prevalence and highly variable consequences of mild and moderate hearing loss in the adult population, there has been surprisingly little research into all the many aspects of the management of this type and degree of sensory impairment. BSHAA offers its strong support for this [Partnership] in the hope that resultant research will inform and influence both professional practice and public attitudes to a hugely underestimated range of conditions

Barry Downes President of the British Society for Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA)

With the numbers of people with hearing loss set to rise from 10 million to 14.5 million by 2031 and considering the implications hearing loss can have on reducing quality of life, it’s critical that the opinions of those who are affected by hearing loss and clinicians drive future research priorities.

Gemma Twitchen Senior Audiologist for Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID)

I have worked with a number of Steering group over the years on different projects, and feel this is one of the most actively engaged groups I have ever worked with; people had lots of ideas and feedback, and got involved in all aspects of the project; the prioritisation work in the two surveys, the short listing, and all the dissemination. I have really enjoyed being part of the group. The final workshop used a tried and tested approach to inclusive decision making called nominal group technique, which encourages everyone at the workshop to contribute ending up with a consensus of the top 10 priorities. The final top ten reflect a good balance of prevention, diagnosis and management questions, and will go forward to be promoted in a number of ways to disseminate the top ten as widely as possible to influence future research decisions.

David Crowe James Lind Alliance Advisor for the Priority Setting Partnership

The final workshop allowed patients, family and friends, and clinicians to discuss and debate their reasons underpinning the prioritisation of particular research questions. Workshop discussions allowed all perspectives to be heard and considered, and the value of these discussions in shaping and agreeing the top 10 priorities was evident both in the workshop itself, and from the feedback received from delegates who felt truly included in the priority setting process

Helen Henshaw Priority Setting Partnership Co-ordinator