audiology managing severe hearing loss

New Professional Best Practice Guidance Published for the Management of Severe and Profound Hearing Loss

STAFA, SWITZERLAND – Phonak recently convened a group of international experts to pull together current research and make clear recommendations about what best care should look like for those with severe and profound hearing loss.

These expert guidelines have been published and are available with open access, thanks to sponsorship from Phonak. 


Guidelines created to ensure equitable and quality care


According to the World Health Organization, two out of ten adults seeking audiological treatment have severe and profound hearing loss.1 The consequences of severe and profound hearing loss permeate all areas of life and can impact communication greatly. When not managed well, it can lead to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration, isolation, and increased dependency on others. It has also been associated with an increased likelihood of unemployment, a greater risk of having falls, and dementia.2  

Effective audiological management for those with severe and profound hearing loss is critical in overcoming these consequences. The challenge is that their needs are often vastly different to their better hearing peers and hearing care providers need the skills to help support them in a different way to those with mild to moderate hearing loss. 

Guidance on how to manage the unique needs of those with severe and profound hearing loss was not readily available so Phonak brought together experts from four different countries to develop best practice guidelines. After two years in the making, these guidelines are now available and free to access on

“A person with a severe to profound hearing loss is not a person with a mild hearing loss who needs more power. Because people with severe to profound hearing loss have specific, complex listening needs that may not be adequately addressed by routine audiologic care, we felt that it was essential to have dedicated guidelines to help clinicians to provide best services and advices to their patients”

–Angela Pelosi, Director of Global Audiology at Phonak


Some key recommendations from these guidelines for hearing care professionals:


  • Those with severe and profound hearing loss need Counseling on continuum of hearing technologies – These conversations are vital to understanding that hearing aids need not be the final stop on their hearing journey.

  • Extra consideration when selecting  and fitting hearing aids. In order to maintain audibility and support aided speech recognition, fitting approaches beyond the standard ‘initial fit’ are required 

  • Remote microphone technology should be considered at the same time as selection of hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. 

  • Communication training and strategies should be included in the ongoing management of severe to profound hearing loss. Beyond hearing technology, communication abilities can be enhanced with auditory skills training and communication strategies

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1. World Health Organization (2012). Promoting ear and hearing care through CBR Community-based rehabilitation. World Health Organization. Retrieved from Accessed December 1, 2020.  

2. Turton, L., & Smith, P. (2013). Prevalence & characteristics of severe and profound hearing loss in adults in a UK National Health Service clinic. International Journal of Audiology, 52(2), 92–97.


Source: Phonak, Seminars in Hearing