Hearing aid users report greater improvement in their quality of life than they anticipated when they received their hearing aids.
Hearing impaired patients rarely imagine the difference hearing aids can make in their daily life. They often underestimate their loss of hearing and its effects and believe that they can get by without hearing aids. Only after they have completed the process of being treated with hearing aids do they truly realise the difference.
A study published by the Quality of Life Research journal indicated that hearing impaired people estimate their hearing to have improved 100 percent when treated with hearing aids. This is in contrast with their belief before being fitted with hearing aids that their hearing was adequate.
Improved quality of life
The researchers conducting the study asked 98 people with hearing loss how they perceived their quality of life and their hearing ability before and after they received hearing aids. The study confirmed earlier surveys indicating that people with hearing loss report improvements in their quality of life when they receive hearing aids.
After their hearing aid fitting the subjects were asked how they remembered their situation before the treatment. Their recent experience with hearing aids led them to estimate in hindsight that their hearing ability without the hearing aids was 35 percent worse than they used to believe. The change was primarily due to a change in their perception about what constitutes adequate hearing and what they were actually able to hear before they received their hearing aids.
More could benefit from hearing aids
Many hearing impaired people underestimate their hearing loss and believe that they can manage without a hearing aid.
Other studies have indicated that just one in five, who could benefit from wearing hearing aids, uses one, even though hearing aids have been shown repeatedly to improve the quality of life.
Source: Response shift in the measurement of quality of life, Quality of Life Research, no. 11, 2002.
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