13 September 2005

Young adults do not view hearing aids as sign of old age

In the eyes of young adults, those who wear hearing aids are neither dumb nor slow. Nor do young people view hearing aids as a sign of old age the way old people themselves view it.

The attitudes of young and older adults towards hearing aids were studied in an American survey. It also showed that most young people are reluctant to use hearing aids, themselves.

A group of 186 college students and 274 55-90 year-olds was asked about their views on using hearing aids. According to their responses, 37 percent of those in the higher age group believed that hearing aids are generally for old people, whereas just 4 percent of the young respondents shared this view.

The young people were more positive towards hearing aids in other regards, as well. Just 2.5 percent of the young respondents believed that hearing aid users think more slowly than others. Among the older respondents, between 17 and 23 percent shared this view. One in 10 in the higher age group viewed hearing aids as a sign of lack of intelligence. Just one youngster in 100 agreed with this attitude.

In spite of their positive views on hearing aids and hearing aid users, 55 percent of the youngsters said they would be concerned if they were seen wearing hearing aids. This worry was shared by 14-19 percent of the older respondents. If the hearing aids were smaller and less visible, 60 percent of the youngsters said they would not hesitate to use them, if needed.

A majority of the young respondents were sceptical about the efficacy of the hearing aids in alleviating hearing problems. Just 8 percent of them believed hearing aids would help. In contrast, 52 percent of those already using hearing aids stated that their devices fully solved their hearing problem.

Source: The hearing aid ”?effect' revisited in young adults, British Journal of Audiology.

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