30 June 2011

Testing for hearing loss often stops with the family doctor

Every other hearing impaired person does not receive the correct audiological examination. Family doctors should send their patients to a professional when the patient complains of hearing impairment.

Family doctors have a great influence on whether a hearing impaired person chooses to use a hearing aid. Only just over every second person with hearing loss decides to tackle their hearing problem after consulting their doctor about it. Those are the findings of a study in Germany, England and France, which were published by the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association, EHIMA in 2010.

In Germany, 45% do not continue to deal with their hearing problem after visiting their doctor. In France, that figure is 44% and in England it is 39%. Of those who choose to deal with their hearing problem, three out of four people in Germany and France decide to use hearing aids after they have been to their doctor with their hearing loss. In England, that figure is almost 19 out of 20.

A lack of information
“The study clearly shows how great an influence the family doctor has. Doctors do not usually carry out hearing tests, and it usually takes a professional to determine whether a person would benefit from using a hearing aid. If you think you have a significant hearing loss, you should discuss it with your doctor, and he should send you to a professional,” says Secretary General Søren Hougaard, EHIMA.

“I think the explanation is, that doctors do not have a particular insight into hearing loss, and they can lack information as to how much enjoyment the hearing impaired can get from a modern, digital hearing aid,” says Søren Hougaard.

The greatest difference between England and Germany and France respectively is that the hearing impaired can receive free hearing aids in England through the public health service, the NHS.

About the survey
The study, which was published in 2010, was carried out by the Swiss analysts Anovum on behalf of EHIMA. 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.


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