Many of us became hearing care professionals because we wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. “Helping people hear better” is our motto. Well, I have good news for you. Recent data shows that end users are aware that the benefits of amplification go well beyond hearing better. The June 2016 edition of the Hearing Review described results from EuroTrak 2015 and MarkeTrak 9 surveys —the world’s largest consumer surveys on hearing aids and hearing loss.
The surveys were conducted to better understand the impact of better hearing (as achieved through use of hearing aids) on the well-being of individuals. These two surveys collected information about self-reported hearing loss and hearing aid ownership from more than 120,000 people. Countries surveyed included Germany, France, UK, Italy, Switzerland and USA.
One area of note is quality of life, with more than 8 of 10 hearing aid owners feeling their hearing aids occasionally or regularly had a positive impact on their perceived quality of life. In addition, half of all hearing aid owners believe their relationships at home or at work improved due to their hearing aids. Half of the hearing aid owners also felt an improved sense of safety and independence as a result of wearing hearing aids. And, there was a tendency for those with hearing aids to report being less forgetful than individuals who did not wear hearing aids. Finally, 9 out of 10 hearing aid owners across the EU reported that their hearing aids were useful on their job, and those with hearing aids were less likely to develop depressive disorders than those who did not wear hearing aids.
These results are impressive. Hearing aids are clearly associated with improvements in the social, emotional and psychological well-being of people with hearing loss. If we compare these results to the first Eurotrak survey conducted in 2009, only the benefits to relationships at home were noted as often. All other benefits were less likely to be expressed, showing how new technology is leading to more positive impacts on end users’ quality of life than seven years ago.
So, perhaps “helping people hear better” is no longer our motto —it’s “helping people live better”!
You can access all survey results in this Hearing Review article. If you have an example of how one of your patients responded to being fit with hearing aids, please share it below. We would love to hear about your experience.