23 February 2011

One in eight says: Yes, I have a hearing loss

One in eight adult Europeans say that they have a hearing loss. But two out of three Europeans do not use hearing aids. Those are the results of a study carried out in Germany, England and France.

Almost 45,000 people in Germany, England and France were involved in a study in which they were asked whether they feel they have a hearing loss. In Germany, 15.1% of people over the age of 18 think they have a hearing loss. In France, that figure is 12.7% while in England it is 11.5%. Figures from similar studies in USA show that the proportion of adult Americans that feel that they have a hearing loss is around 11-12%.

The study also shows that two out of three hearing impaired Europeans do not use hearing aids, even though they could benefit from them. In England, 38.6% of those who say that they have a hearing loss use hearing aids, while the corresponding figures in Germany and France are 31.8% and 29.8% respectively. In the USA, around 25% of those who say that they have a hearing loss use hearing aids.

Even more have hearing loss

“The share of people with a measurable hearing loss is somewhat higher than when people evaluate their hearing loss themselves. If you measure hearing loss, instead of asking people if they have experienced hearing loss, the share of adults with hearing loss will typically be around one out of six or between 15-20%. That is because a hearing loss can be measured before it can really be noticed,” says Secretary General Søren Hougaard, EHIMA.

Explanation of the difference

The fact that there are slightly more in Germany who think that they have a hearing loss is due to the slightly higher average age in Germany than in France and England.
That there is a difference between how many use hearing aids in the three countries is because of the different schemes for getting hearing aids in the individual countries. In England it is possible to get a hearing aid paid by the state through the National Health Service (NHS), while in Germany and France you get a subsidy to buy a hearing aid at private outlets. In the USA there is almost no subsidy or public scheme apart from the Veterans Administration.

About the survey

The study, which was published in 2010, was carried out by the Swiss analysts Anovum on behalf of EHIMA, The European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association. Around 15,000 people were involved in the study in Germany, France and England respectively and were asked about their hearing and use of hearing aids.

Source: Euro Track, Anovum/EHIMA and MarkeTrak Surveys, USA

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