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Age-Related Hearing Loss Task Force

The Task Force was made up of health care professionals, representatives of consumer organizations, state agencies, insurance industry representatives, and policymakers. Specifically, it included: 

Health care professionals

  • Dr. James Pacala, Associate Head, U of MN Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Dr. Bevan Yueh, Department Chair, U of MN Otolaryngology
  • Dr. Mark DeRuiter, Associate Dept. Director, U of MN Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
  • Juliana Milhofer, Minnesota Medical Association

Consumer organizations

  • Monique Hammond, Hearing Loss Association of America, Twin Cities
  • Lyle Hoxtell, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Division Regional Advisory Board
  • Rick Nelson, Loop Minnesota

State agencies/divisions

  • John Wodele, Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans
  • Mary Hartnett, Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans
  • Brad Lindsay, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Jim Miller, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Darcy Miner, Department of Health
  • Don Bishop, Department of Health
  • David Rosenthal, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Division, Department of Human Services
  • Jan Radatz, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Division, Department of Human Services
  • Marie Koehler, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Division, Department of Human Services
  • Sherilyn Moe, Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care
  • Jean Wood, Board on Aging
  • Mark Schulz, Board on Aging

Insurance industry

  • Kathryn Kmit, Minnesota Council of Health Plans

Policymakers

  • Rep. Tom Huntley, Former Minnesota House of Representatives
  • Kari Thurlow, Leading Age

Task Force Recommendations

What did the task force set as the desired outcomes?

  1. The knowledge that "there's help and there's hope". This means that Minnesotans who are 55 and older would know what options (technology and resources) are available to them and have choices in the treatment and care they receive. It also means that there would be awareness among professionals, people with age-related hearing loss, their families and the general public about hearing loss and its consequences.

  2. Affordable, accessible and effective healthcare. This includes screening, which supports healthy aging for people with age-related hearing loss. Minnesotans and health care providers would have knowledge in regards to hearing loss screening and identification. Policymakers would allocate money for screening and devices.

  3. The physical environment supports people with age-related hearing loss.

What are members of the task force doing right now to advance these goals?

  1. Developing hearing screening standards for older adults. The Minnesota Department of Health has convened a group that developed recommendations for standardized screening and is working on the next steps.

  2. Producing a documentary on age-related hearing loss, Hearing Loss Matters. The Commission and TPT Twin Cities PBS co-produced the documentary and is developing training and advocacy tools to educate older adults and their families about age-related hearing loss.

  3. Working on public policy changes.

  4. Testing low-cost hearing aids from Sound World Solutions (the same company that the John Hopkins University study is using). The Commission is working with the Minnesota Department of Health to design a pre and post survey to measure outcomes and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division will distribute the devices.

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