People don’t get hearing treatment despite hearing difficulties

People don’t get hearing treatment despite hearing difficulties

May 2012

Editor: We’re always seeing different statistics on the prevalence of hearing loss. Here’s a new report on hearing loss in folks over the age of 50. Thanks to hear-it.org for permission so share this article. For more interesting stories, point your browser to www.hear-it.org

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A U.S. study of people aged 50 and older shows that 47% of respondents report having some kind of hearing difficulty which has not been treated.

In an American study, the participants were asked about how they would describe their own hearing health. 32% of the respondents reported that their hearing is “not as good as it could be, but they were not in need of treatment”. 15% stated that they have a hearing difficulty that has not been treated and one-fifth (20%) said that they have hearing issues which have been treated. 32% said that their hearing was “excellent”. Comparing the statements of both men and women, the survey found that women are more likely than men (40% vs. 26%) to report their hearing as excellent.

In another question related to their current hearing health, 52% reported that their hearing is the same as it was five years ago; with slightly fewer saying it is either a little worse (37%) or much worse (9%).

More than six in ten (61% of the respondents) who had hearing loss agreed or strongly agreed that they found it hard to follow conversations in noisy situations. Another 45% agreed or strongly agreed that their hearing difficulties could negatively affect relationships and 43% agreed that family gatherings are a strain.

Too few hearing check-ups

In terms of health screenings, the study revealed that only 43% of the respondents have had a hearing test within the last five years. This is low compared to vision tests (88%), blood pressure monitoring (85%), mammograms (85%) and cholesterol screenings (81%) taken within the last five years.

“Untreated hearing loss is not a condition to be taken lightly or ignored,” said Paul R. Rao, PhD, President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. “It can lead to social isolation and even depression. It works against the desire of more and more Americans to stay in the work force.”

The Study

The Study was carried out as a joint initiative between the American Association of Retired People (AARP) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The survey was fielded among a sample of 2,232 AARP members ages 50 and older.

Source: The State of Hearing Health: A Study of AARP Members, AARP