Only one fifth of people with hearing problems wear a hearing aid

(Medical Xpress)—Just a fifth of people with hearing problems wear a hearing aid, a study by The University of Manchester has found.

The study, published in the journal Ear and Hearing, looked at the habits of 160,000 people in the UK aged 40 to 69 years. It found 10.7 per cent of adults had significant hearing problems when listening to speech in the presence of - but only 2.1 per cent used a hearing aid.

One in 10 middle aged adults had substantial and were more likely to be from a working class or ethnic minority background.

Dr Piers Dawes, from The University of Manchester's Audiology and Deafness research group, said: "This is the first study to describe the prevalence of difficulties understanding speech in background noise in a large sample of the population, anywhere in the world.

"It shows remain significantly under used despite significant improvements in both technology and their provision, and a high proportion of people who would benefit from treatment may not receive effective intervention.

"Reasons for the lack of uptake might be lack of awareness of treatment options, lack of recognition of their difficulties, finding hearing aids uncomfortable or finding them of limited help."

The University of Manchester team is the first group in the world to gain access to the large UK database from the UK Biobank allowing them to study the habits of 160,000 UK adults.

Professor Kevin Munro, Ewing Professor of Audiology at The University of Manchester who also worked on the study, said: "There still seems to be a stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid, where as there is little stigma now associated with vision loss and wearing spectacles. "This might be because eye care also involves lifestyle choices - it's available on the high street without the need to see a GP and onward referral to an audiologist in hospital, which emphasises illness and frailty."

More information: "Hearing in Middle Age: A Population Snapshot of 40- to 69-Year Olds in the United Kingdom." Dawes P. Ear Hear. 2014 Feb 10. [Epub ahead of print] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24518430

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Imbalanced hearing is more than a mild disability

Mar 12, 2014

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of asymmetric hearing loss ...

Hearing loss tied to depression in study

Mar 07, 2014

(HealthDay)—Hearing loss is associated with depression among American adults, especially women and those younger than age 70, according to new research.

Education system failing deaf children, research shows

Feb 20, 2014

The British education system is neglecting the needs of deaf children, many of whom have major reading difficulties, according to new research led by academics from City University London and funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

Natural sound experience for hearing-impaired people

Feb 17, 2014

Siemens has presented a new hearing aid for people whose hearing is severely impaired. The hearing aid is so thin that it can even fit behind the ear of a hearing-impaired baby. One of the reasons why the ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments