merck hearing loss survey

HHTM Hearing News Round-up: This Week’s Notable Stories

As the end of summer looms, mix your favorite Labor Day cocktail (or sweet tea, if that’s your thing) and catch up on some industry news.


Majority of Americans Believe Hearing Loss is No Big Deal


According to a survey conducted by Merck Manuals, 86% of respondents say they have participated in at least one noisy activity over the past year, yet 59% of those respondents say they rarely think about hearing loss.

The survey, which was published online August 16, was comprised of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, and was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Manuals in July 2018. There were several key findings, including,

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 understand that hearing damage can happen even when something doesn’t “sound” too loud, yet just 64% say they try to take preventative measures to protect their hearing whenever possible.
  • Nearly a third of Americans believe it is rare for adults to develop hearing loss at a young age. Younger adults aged 18-34 (43%) are twice as likely to believe this, compared to older adults aged 65+ (21 percent).
  • Two thirds of Americans recognize that if hearing loss runs in your family, you are more likely to be affected by it.

The survey also provides some valuable insights on the beliefs of Americans about hearing aids. According to the Merck Manuals survey, 63% of Americans said getting hearing aids is essential to quality of life for those with hearing loss. But as Americans get older, they are more inclined to believe getting hearing aids can be very expensive (66% of Americans aged 55+ compared to 48% of those aged 18-54).

The following attitudes were also discovered about hearing aids:

  • 55% of Americans said getting hearing aids can be expensive
  • 52% said wearing modern hearing aids is barely noticeable
  • 31% said wearing hearing aids can be physically uncomfortable
  • 20% said wearing hearing aids can be embarrassing

Otolaryngologist, Lawrence R. Lustig of Columbia University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital, provided commentary on the survey results.


New Study Shows Impact of Cochlear Implantation on Mild Cognitive Impairment


A study published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society analyzed long‐term cognitive status and function after cochlear implantation in profoundly deaf individuals. The study, conducted by French researchers, evaluated cognitive function in older adults with profound hearing loss over 5+ year period.

Of the 45% of the 31 participants with MCI before cochlear implantation, 2 (6%) developed dementia during follow‐up, 19 (61%) remained stable, and 10 (32%) returned to normal cognition. None of the 38 with normal cognition developed dementia during follow‐up, although 12 (32%) developed MCI.

According to the authors, the results highlight that cochlear implantation should be strongly considered in profoundly deaf individuals, even those with mild cognitive impairment.


Samsung Invests Billions in AI, 5G, etc.


As a growing number of hearing aid manufacturers announce device with features that utilize artificial intelligence, Samsung announced it will spend $22 billion over the next three years to develop artificial intelligence, biopharmaceuticals, 5G wireless systems and other futuristic technology.

Overall, Samsung plans to invest more than $150 billion, mainly in Korea, and hire 40,000 new employees, double what it promised previously. Samsung has said before that it will put AI smarts in all its devices (not just smartphones) by 2020.

According to an August 18 article in Engadget, the bulk of Samung’s investment will go into its chip division, which has performed remarkably well of late. Samsung is now the world’s leading electronics manufacturer, ahead of its chief rival, Intel.


Update on a Florida Legal Challenge


Back in April, HHTM Hearing News Watch posted a story on the saga of Florida dispenser, Dan Taylor and his quest to loosen his state’s hearing aid dispensing regulation. It was announced last week, at the website The Hill, that Taylor’s federal constitutional lawsuit that was heard in an Orlando, Florida, courtroom.

Hearing News Watch will continue to monitor any breaks in this story and provide readers with updates as they become available.

1 Comment

  1. In my research in this field, at least 66% of all hearing losses begin with pathologies within the middle ear that merit ENT attention , and verification of such pathologies are provided by hearing tests. Hearing tests do help in timely detection of ME tumors, structural changes in the ossicular structures, ear drum flaccidity, calcification of the otic capsule, extent of cochlear damages, extent of synaptopathy issues and lesions along the auditory nerve.. It is ridiculous to recommend that no tests should be necessary, and that “knowledge” of hearing loss should initiate hearing aid fittings. This is a frivolous lawsuit by an audiologist ho obviously doe not know much about the ear!

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