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February 27, 2012

Hearing health has a high priority - but hearing tests do not

Three out of four say that hearing health is an important concern, but many still do not take a hearing test, an American study has found.

Hearing health has a high priority - but hearing tests do not

About 76% of respondents in a survey from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) said that hearing health is an extremely or very important concern for themselves, for people aged 50 and older (73%) and for their family and friends (70%).

68% of the respondents said that hearing check-ups are receiving insufficient attention compared to other health issues, while 30% said that the topic gets about the right amount of attention. Women were more likely than men to say that the importance of getting a regular hearing check-up receives insufficient attention (73% vs. 63%).

An overwhelming 85% said that their hearing health plays an extremely or very important role for their quality of life. Eight in ten reported that they were extremely or very likely to have a hearing check-up if they believed they had an issue with their hearing.

Only a few undergo a hearing check-up

However, when it comes to health screenings, only 43% of the respondents have had a hearing test within the last five years. Compared to other health screenings such as vision tests (88%), blood pressure monitoring (85%), mammograms (85%) and cholesterol screening (81%), the figure for hearing tests is low. The only test with lower figures in the survey is a bone density test.

“Maintaining hearing health as one ages is a very important concern among our members,” said AARP Vice President Nicole Duritz. “While the survey results indicate that older Americans recognise the impact hearing difficulties can have on relationships with family and friends, people are also going without treatment, which can negatively impact quality of life and lead to safety issues.”

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.

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