• hearing loss;
  • gerontological nursing intervention;
  • elderly;
  • hearing impairment;
  • listening environment

This review paper selectively examines the problem of age-related hearing loss. Drawing on specialist audiological research, nursing research and patient anecdotes to make a case for nursing intervention. The limitations of national prevalence estimates are highlighted with regard to dependent elderly people, and are challenged as political underestimations of need. Despite the evidence of an exceptionally high level of potential demand only a minority of elderly people who might benefit from amplification possess a hearing aid. Factors to explain the low levels of hearing aid ownership and use are discussed. Through considerable reference to the author's own research the potential for nurses to lead practice developments and initiate service reform in the management of age-related hearing loss is debated.