Are Hearing Aids Improving? You bet! Check out this study.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In 1990, the non-profit Better Hearing Institute began conducting consumer research covering all facets of hearing aids published under the title MarkeTrak Reports. Their goal was to show trends and provide a report card of sorts to the hearing aid manufacturers and hearing professionals. Their studies are extremely detailed while surveying thousands of hearing aid wearers. The findings from the 2008 survey have just been released. The last MarkeTrak study was conducted in 2004. While there is always room for the industry to improve in various areas, there are some excellent findings as reported by the report.
The current paper received surveys from almost 3,200 people and focused entirely on hearing aids worn within the last 4 years. I’ve summarized the findings below. To read the entire study, click here.
First, concerning the subjects’ hearing loss while NOT using hearing aids, the most frequent hearing/listening comments were reported:
- Hearing in background noise (restaurants, business meetings, large groups of people, parties, etc.);
- Almost 90% reported their hearing loss affects both ears;
- Only 47% can hear a shout across a room;
- Only 31% can hear and understand normal conversation across a room.
The following points show consumer satisfaction while using hearing aids. Any comparisons are from the 2004 study.
- Overall hearing aid satisfaction increased from 68% to 74% putting hearing aids on par with most consumer electronics. Satisfaction with the newest hearing aids increased to 81%!
- Hearing aid dissatisfaction decreased from 16% to 12%.
- Consumer satisfaction with hearing benefits while wearing hearing aids stands at 86%!
- 82% of today’s hearing aid wearers would recommend using hearing aids to their friends.
- 78% are satisfied with the cosmetics of their hearing aids.
- 87% are satisfied with fit, comfort, and ease of use of hearing aids.
- One area of improvement needed – consumers want more ease of control over volume adjustments on their hearing aids. 60% said they wanted improvement in this area.
- 77% are satisfied with the clearness of tone and overall sound of their hearing aids.
Technology has made the greatest improvements in the areas of hearing in background noise and managing wind noise. A 7% increase in user satisfaction was noted with both areas getting a 60% satisfaction rating. Comment – Background noise is present in everything we do, and even normal hearing people struggle in these areas. A 7% increase in satisfaction is huge!
Given these facts and the numerous other blogs I’ve posted here about hearing aid benefits, I’m still surprised that only 25% of the people who could wear hearing aids actually purchase them. Since hearing loss affects our quality of life, personal relationships, confidence, and much more, the above consumer reported findings should provide assurance that hearing aids can provide a great benefit. So, have hearing aids improved and are they worth trying – you bet!!