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

March 18, 2014

(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."

Explore further: Researcher works to increase hearing-aid use among adults with hearing impairments

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

Related Stories

Researcher works to increase hearing-aid use among adults with hearing impairments

July 15, 2013
Nearly half of individuals who are prescribed hearing aids do not wear the devices, previous research has shown. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has received a fellowship that will help her continue her work to increase ...

Imbalanced hearing is more than a mild disability

March 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 in adults and children.

Hearing loss tied to depression in study

March 7, 2014
(HealthDay)—Hearing loss is associated with depression among American adults, especially women and those younger than age 70, according to new research.

Natural sound experience for hearing-impaired people

February 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 new device is one-third ...

'How-to' video tutorials could boost hearing aid use, say researchers

May 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The main barriers to hearing aid use are being addressed by experts in Nottingham as part of an innovative research project.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.