The first recommendation of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) report Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability is to “Improve population-based information on hearing loss and hearing health care.” In short, we need more information and data about hearing loss to have a better understanding of, at a minimum, risk factors associated with hearing loss, hearing health care needs, and the impact of hearing loss and its treatment on health, function, economic productivity and quality of life.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been at the forefront of research since its authorization in 1988. As NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., has said, “NIDCD-supported scientists have made astonishing advances in the NIDCD’s mission areas of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. Numerous discoveries have expanded our knowledge base and led to improved diagnosis, treatment, and technology for people with communication disorders."
HLAA recently submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to support increased funding for the NIH. In our testimony we spoke of the strong role of the NIDCD in advancing research on hearing health care. We also noted that NIH funding for fiscal year 2017 has not yet been finalized. We urged Congress to act to finalize the funding for 2017 and move forward with an increased budget for fiscal year 2018.