26 January 2021

When tested, around one in six adult Germans have a hearing loss

When measured with a hearing test, more than 15 % of adult Germans have a hearing loss of 25 dB or greater, a study finds.

15.5% of the participants in a German study showed a hearing loss (pure-tone average - PTA) of 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz in the better ear greater than 25 dB HL. 8.6% of the participants had a hearing loss (PTA) of at least 35 dB HL in the better ear.

The study analysed two independent cross-sectional German studies conducted between 2008 and 2012 and included a total of 3,105 adults.

The hearing threshold level (the ability to hear) among the participants was measured at frequencies of 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 kHz, separately in the left and the right ear.

Increase with age

In the study, both the prevalence and the degree of hearing loss increased with age, particularly in the high frequencies and more strongly in males, and, at low frequencies, a somewhat stronger increase in females.

The prevalence of hearing loss in this study is very similar to many other studies where the prevalence and degree of hearing loss is measured through hearing tests. These show that around one in six have a hearing loss greater than 25 dB on the better ear.

Use of hearing aids

The hearing aid adoption rate among all the people in the study was 5.6%, meaning that around one third of those with hearing loss in the study used hearing aids.

Self-reported hearing loss

In recent years, surveys (EuroTrak Germany) have been carried out in Germany asking people if they think they have a hearing loss. In EuroTrak Germany 2018, one in eight Germans asked said that they had a hearing loss. In the surveys, nearly 37 % of those who said that they have a hearing loss use hearing aids.

The study, “Gender-specific hearing loss in German adults aged 18 to 84 years compared to US-American and current European studies”, was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Sources: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and PLOS ONE

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