Every few years, the Hearing Industry Association collects data on hearing aids—on their usage and how both owners and non-owners perceive them. Released at the beginning of May, the survey was balanced against both U.S. Census Bureau information and previous surveys. Below, we've summarized some of the core insights and findings. 

  • Satisfaction with hearing assistance devices increased to 83% this year, contrasted to 53% in 1989. 
  • More than half of hearing aid owners relied on at least some assistance to cover the cost of hearing aids. In 1989, only 20% of people required third-party payments. 
  • The average age of purchasers this year was 60 years old. This is a considerable decrease from 1989 when the average age was 66.6 years. 
  • The general perception of hearing aid ownership and usage has improved considerably. At the time of the first survey, people perceived those who wore hearing instruments as less attractive, competent, and useful. They also perceived people using hearing aids as disabled. Today, however, hearing aid owners feel neither embarrassed nor rejected. 
  • Doctors have also begun screening patients more frequently and consistently for hearing loss. 52% of people discuss hearing difficulties with their physicians and are encouraged to seek out hearing aids. In 1989, only 1 out of 5 general practitioners screened patients for hearing loss. 
The survey also predicts that over-the-counter hearing aids will have a significant impact on the market, as they're currently expected to replace direct-to-consumer sales. The HIA also expects that we're going to see many new entrants into the industry, as well as ongoing improvements in hearing aid technology along with a growing focus on hearing health in both research and legislation. 

Other highlights include:
  • Hearing aids are incorporating a range of new features to which hearing aid users are happily adjusting.
  • Roughly 50% of hearing aid purchasers are first-timers, with the exception of Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) at 86%. 
  • Cochlear implants are still not especially well-known, with only 10% of respondents indicating familiarity with the technology.
  • Non-owners still have a somewhat negative perception of hearing aids, listing insufficient finances, bad timing, and a bad encounter with a professional as reasons for avoiding the technology. Of all respondents, 19% wouldn't purchase a hearing aid even with sufficient coverage. 
You can view the full report here. In the meantime, we'd strongly recommend scheduling an appointment with an audiologist if you haven't done so recently. Where your hearing health is concerned, it's always better to be safe than sorry, after all.