STÄFA, SWITZERLAND—More than four out of five hearing aid wearers in the U.S. said they enjoyed an increased quality of life because of their devices, according to “Hearing Is Living,” an international study commissioned by Hear the World. The findings, said a December 7 statement accompanying the release of the initial data, “debunk common myth around hearing loss and hearing aids.”
The data in the report also fit well with Hear the World’s mission, which is to draw attention to the social and emotional impact of hearing loss and to ways to prevent or treat this very common problem. The findings would also appear to be welcome news for Hear the World’s sponsor, Phonak, the world’s largest manufacturer of hearing aids (at least in terms of revenues).
“Hearing Is Living” draws upon interviews of more than 4300 people in the U.S., Germany, France, Switzerland, and the U.K., which were conducted by zehnvier, a Swiss market research and strategy consultancy. Those surveyed included not only hearing aid users, but also people with unaided hearing loss, relatives of people with hearing loss, and a neutral control group.
Initial results from the survey included that 82.8% of Americans who wear hearing aids reported improved quality of life, and two-thirds (67.5%) observed that their hearing aids had led to better relationships with their partners.
Although vanity has often been considered a major deterrent to hearing aid use, those surveyed showed little desire to hide their hearing aids. Among wearers, 86.7% agreed with the statement that they wear their hearing aids openly and confidently. What’s more, 77.3% said they experienced positive reactions to their hearing aids from the people around them.
Susan Whichard, executive director of industry relations for Phonak, LCC, pointed to the significance of the report’s conclusions. She said, “Although hearing is of central importance for almost all spheres of life, there are still too many people who are denying themselves a substantial degree of quality of life without realizing it.” She added, “With our study, we want to make people more conscious that it is worth valuing and protecting their own hearing and encourage them to do something about their hearing loss.”
“Hearing Is Living” also reported additional data about the U.S. hearing aid wearers interviewed, including that 60.1% said their hearing aid is so natural that they even forget that they are wearing it; that 62.7% can no longer imagine life without a hearing aid; and that nearly half (47.7%) said they should have started using a hearing aid much earlier.
For more on the report, visit Hear the World.