Adoption, Use and Non-Use of Hearing Aids: A Robust Estimate Based on Welsh National Survey Statistics

Int J Audiol. 2020 Jun 12;1-7. doi: 10.1080/14992027.2020.1773550. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: To report a robust measure of the proportion of adults who do not use their hearing aids.Design: Data on hearing aid use was extracted from national household survey data, from 2004 to 2018 in Wales, UK.Study sample: A representative sample of 10,000 to 16,000 adults per year.Results: Self-reported hearing difficulty increased smoothly from 14 to 16% during the 12 years when survey administration remained unchanged. The proportion reporting that they had tried a hearing aid increased from 5 to 7% and stabilised at this level since 2011. The proportion who reported using their hearing aid most of the time increased from 47 to 52% during the 15-year period. The proportion who did not use their hearing aids at all decreased from 21 to 18% over the same period.Conclusions: In this extensively-surveyed population, approximately 20% of adults currently do not use their hearing aids at all, 30% use them some of the time and the remaining 50% most of the time. Hearing aids are valued by many, as judged by use, but there is substantial room for improvement. Inclusion of questions on use within a large-scale, regular national survey enables the collection of demonstrably reliable data.

Keywords: difficulty; hearing aids; non-use; survey; use.