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The Heart of the Matter: What Does America Really Know about Coronary Artery Disease Treatments? EuroTrak I, which looks at consumers’ self-reported hearing loss and hearing aid use, reveals many correlates with MarkeTrak VIII data. The findings in the following article show many correlations between EuroTrak and MarkeTrak data. Importantly, the study shows that hearing aid owners are highly satisfied with their hearing care professionals, and that those who own a newer hearing aid (<4 years of age) are significantly more satisfied with their devices. Nevertheless, the results also show challenges and opportunities for improvement in hearing aid design and delivery, particularly for improving performance in difficult listening situations.
It is EHIMA’s intention to repeat the surveys in the three countries on a regular basis. A questionnaire was developed with the goal of compiling important data in the European countries, with maximum correlation to the North American MarkeTrak surveys. During June and July 2009 (Germany) and December 2009 (France and UK), a short survey was mailed to online panel members in the three countries.
The reader should keep in mind that the data presented in this article are based on stated (self-reported) hearing loss, and thus will most likely differ from studies using objective measures of hearing loss. Figure 2 shows hearing aid adoption rates of the entire population, as well as based on people who say they have a hearing loss in one or both ears. EuroTrak indicates that one-half (47%) of hearing aid owners in the UK have binaural fittings, while 58% and 60% in France and Germany have binaural fittings, respectively (Figure 3).
Figure 4 illustrates hearing aid adoption rates by age and country based on those who state they have a hearing loss. A comparison of the European countries shows that adoption rates are highest in the UK for nearly all age groups. Table 2 presents hearing aid adoption rates in the first column (percentage hearing aid owners of all people with stated hearing loss) by different demographics. Table 2 also shows demography expressed as percentages for both the hearing aid owner and non-owner populations.
Table 3 shows the key reasons influencing the purchase of hearing aids, measured using a multi-response question (ie, the hearing aid owners were allowed to choose all options that applied to them). In the German and French surveys, hearing aid owners were asked whether their hearing aids were paid (fully or partly) by a third party (in Germany, by Krankenkasse, Invalidenversicherung oder Unfallversicherung; in France, assurance gouvernement, etc).
Figure 5 shows that 52% in France and 79% in Germany of the respective hearing aid owners were aware that they received some third-party payment, while 74% in the UK received free-of-charge NHS instruments.
There is strong evidence for an information deficit relative to third-party payment for hearing aids: only 30% and 31% of non-owners with hearing impairment in Germany and the UK (respectively) were aware of possible third-party payment for hearing aids. Table 4 shows the overall satisfaction with hearing aids for the entire hearing aid population, as well as for hearing aids that were purchased within the last 4 years. It is also noteworthy that there are some differences across countries with regard to the level of overall satisfaction. Figure 6 shows detailed customer satisfaction ratings (percent satisfied) for different criteria by country.
The differences across the countries correlate with the differences in overall satisfaction shown in Table 4.
Non-adopters with an admitted hearing loss were presented with possible reasons for their decision not to use hearing aids. When not using a hearing aid, how difficult is it for you to follow conversations in the presence of noise? The data show that people tend to believe that their hearing loss is too mild or that they would not benefit from hearing aids. It is difficult to determine the origins of their belief that hearing aids won’t help them, but there is evidence that their beliefs about their hearing are influenced by medical advice. Inversely, it is worth noting that, when people with self-reported hearing loss in Germany, France, and the UK seek professional advice from ENTs and GPs, they are advised to see a hearing care professional in 58% to 71% of the cases (depending on country and profession). In the United States, MarkeTrak reports that only 14% of those who visited their family doctor for a health check were offered a hearing screening test.
To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time that survey data about hearing, hearing loss, and hearing aids from the major European markets were reported and compared with US market data. Binaural hearing aid use in Germany (60%), France (58%), and the UK (47%) is significantly lower than in the United States (74%). In all countries analyzed, the adoption rate (people with hearing aid divided by the people with stated hearing loss) is highest for people over age 74 and declines with younger age, but increases again for the youngest segments.
Hearing aid owners are more likely to have a bilateral loss than non-owners and are more likely to have a perceived severe-to-profound hearing loss.
Non-adopters are significantly younger and more often employed compared to hearing aid owners who are more often retired. About half (52%) of French hearing aid owners and four-fifths (79%) of German owners received some form of third-party payment assistance, compared to 39.7% of people in the US (2008 data, includes VA dispensing). Satisfaction is generally high with dispensing professionals, as well as with hearing aid use in easy listening situations.
The top reason for non-adoption in Germany and the UK is that people believe they can hear well enough, while in France the top reason relates to affordability.
The authors thank Sergei Kochkin, PhD, executive director of the Better Hearing Institute, Washington, DC, for reviewing this article and consulting on the EuroTrak survey design and methodology.
Siemens has also developed an infographic with key statistics and some suggestions for preventing hearing loss in teens.
According to a recent study commissioned by Siemens Hearing Instruments, Piscataway, NJ, teen hearing loss may be on the rise, with 1 in 6 teens showing hearing loss symptoms often or all of the time and nearly 9 in 10 engaged inactivities that could place them at risk for hearing loss.
The US survey of 500 teenagers ages 13–19 found that 46% reported experiencing ringing, roaring, buzzing or pain in their ears after engaging in risky hearing practices, including listening to excessively loud music and using lawn and power tools with no hearing protection.
The findings also revealed that teens are aware of the risks, yet still choose not to protect their hearing. Stop future damage: If teens do experience symptoms like ringing or buzzing in their ears, they should immediately turn down the volume, wear ear protection, or see a hearing care professional. Move to the middle: When going to a concert or club, sitting in the middle of the room helps reduce noise exposure. Custom ear protection: Custom-molded musician’s earplugs and high-decibel earplugs are recommended for teens who play in bands or are frequently in loud environments.


Hearing loss among seniors is a common problem, and a recent survey reveals this condition causes stress for caregivers as well. Hearing-impaired seniors can put themselves in danger of getting inappropriate medical care at the doctor’s office. The National Caregivers Survey of professional and family caregivers, released by Songbird Hearing, Inc., also found that one of four professional caregivers believes that a patient’s hearing loss may have led to medical misunderstandings and mistakes.
Family caregivers often find themselves juggling an overwhelming amount of responsibility, and the National Caregivers Survey revealed that dealing with hearing loss adds to the stress.
The survey also confirmed that it is often the caregiver who first notices a person’s hearing problem, citing signs such as needing people to repeat themselves, turning up the volume on the TV or radio, responding inappropriately to questions and avoiding social situations.
Despite these signs, 72 percent of those showing signs of hearing loss are not addressing the problem. Please make an effort to convince your father that he is putting himself in danger by his unwillingness to address his hearing problems.
The local Home Instead Senior Care® office hires CAREGiversSM, for instance, who can serve as ears for your dad and a second set of eyes for you when your father needs to go to the doctor and you can’t be there.
Answer a few questions and one of our experts will be in touch, we help lots of people just like you every month.
Between 2009 and 2010, A Labour Force Survey estimated 21,000 people in the UK were suffering from hearing loss problems they thought were likely to be as a result of exposure to excessive noise levels at their workplace. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 came into force on the 6th April 2006 as key legislation designed to prevent industrial deafness. A possible area of confusion over known acceptable noise level thresholds may stem from the 2006 regulation update which expanded upon the Noise at Work Regulations of 1989 and changed the dB frequency exposure level allowed.
The 2005 Regulations state that employers have a clear responsibility to reduce the level of excessive noise within the workplace before bringing in hearing protection measures. Nevertheless, demographic differences and divergent health care systems appear to impact hearing loss awareness, ownership of hearing aids (adoption), and other factors related to hearing aid use, including customer satisfaction. These improvements are evident for sound quality and signal processing criteria, and indicate that users benefit from new-generation hearing aid technology.
This will deliver longitudinal data and the opportunity to study trends in the European markets—trends that can be compared with related US trends. This correlation allows us not only to study similarities and differences between the markets, but also to draw conclusions for European markets based on the more extensive survey material in MarkeTrak.
The samples were balanced based on census information with respect to age and gender, as well as region.
Hearing loss prevalence in percentage of the entire population and of the population 18 years or older.
Hearing loss prevalence and hearing aid adoption rates, based on stated hearing loss on the screening survey. Binaural hearing aid use, as found in EuroTrak 2009 (all owned hearing aids) and the US MarkeTrak VIII for 2008 (current year only). Notably, MarkeTrak relies on a mailed questionnaire, while EuroTrak relies on an online questionnaire. While there are many potential reasons why stated hearing loss prevalence differs from one country to another (eg, different health care systems, cultural differences, etc), the structure of the aging population pyramid may best explain the higher figure for Germany.
As perhaps expected, the UK has the highest percentage of hearing aid owners relative to those who report having a hearing loss (38.6%) due to the free provision of hearing aids by the National Health Service (NHS).
These rates are comparable to US MarkeTrak figures from the 1990s (51% in 1991, 52% in 1994, and 60% in 1997),1 but are significantly lower than the 74% binaural fittings measured in MarkeTrak VIII (2008). Hearing aid adoption rates by age and country, based on stated hearing loss on screening surveys.
Thus, in this case, one goal for US dispensers and related organizations might be a concerted push for parity with their European counterparts in this regard. While aggregate adoption rate in France is similar to that in Germany, there is a tendency of higher adoption rates within the older age groups in Germany relative to France, and vice versa for the younger segments.
In all countries analyzed, hearing aid owners are more likely to have a bilateral loss than non-owners (eg, 75% versus 57% in Germany) and are more likely to have a perceived severe-to-profound hearing loss (eg, 64% versus 19% in Germany).
Hearing loss population by ears impaired and perceived loss: hearing aid owners versus non-owners. Hearing aid adoption rates and populations by selected demography and countries, based on screening surveys.
In the United States, there are relatively more male hearing aid owners compared to the three European countries. One should be aware that the US MarkeTrak data isolate first-time purchasers only, while the EuroTrak data show the answers of all hearing aid owners. Key reasons for purchasing a hearing aid, in descending order for the three European countries.
The role of the ENT or ear doctor seems to be less dominant in the UK and the US compared to Germany and France.
In the UK study, they were asked if they bought their hearing aids in the private sector or they received free-of-charge NHS hearing aids. From MarkeTrak VIII, we know that third-party payment in the United States for 2008 (current year only) was 39.7%, including aids provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Compared to the entire hearing aid owner population, the overall satisfaction for those who purchased their hearing aids within the last 4 years is higher (by 5 percentage points). The data demonstrate that there are more hearing aids in the drawer in the United States compared to Europe—an extremely interesting fact that warrants further investigation.
Note that, while the European data refer to all hearing aid users, the US data (dotted line) refer to owners with hearing aids purchased within the last 4 years, and may therefore be biased toward better values (they are presented here only for interest, and cannot be assumed to be on par with the overall user populations in the European countries).
The data show similar results on a lower level from the perspective of close relatives or housemates of these hearing aid owners.
For the following analysis of the reasons for non-adoption, only the second group of non-owners (top 50% of people with hearing loss) were included, as their perceived degree of hearing impairment was similar to that of hearing aid owners.
Reasons why people with hearing loss do not use hearing aids; top 50% of hearing loss sorted by overall average rank across the European countries. This means that people with self-reported hearing loss will not be recommended to seek further assistance 42% to 29% of the time. This percentage has been relatively static, despite a law passed in 2003 that encouraged doctors to include hearing screening in their health checks.


In light of the proven benefits of binaural amplification, this appears to be an issue that should be addressed by European dispensers and third-party payors.
In all countries, hearing aid owners who own a new-generation hearing aid are significantly more satisfied compared to the overall hearing aid population.
Another generally important reason for non-adoption is that people believe hearing aids are uncomfortable. Of every 100 people with stated hearing loss in these countries, 39 to 45 do not get positive medical advice relative to hearing aids.
Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) of teens admit participating in activities they know may damage their hearing, with listening to loud music being the most popular.
Siemens also developed an infographic with key statistics and some suggestions for preventing hearing loss in teens. My father’s hearing loss is making it more difficult for him to get the medical care he needs when I can’t accompany him to doctor’s appointments.
In fact, eight of 10 caregivers surveyed expressed concern about hearing loss in the person for whom they care, and 86 percent of that group feels that a person’s inability to hear clearly can affect the daily care they receive. Survey respondents who take the person they care for to the doctor or pharmacy do so an average of four to five times per week and three to four times per month respectively. Reasons these people chose not to wear a hearing aid included cost, discomfort, inconvenience and vanity. If he doesn’t, always try to ensure that he has someone with him when he goes to his doctor’s appointments and pharmacy visits. CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and well-equipped to assist with the many needs of seniors and their family caregivers. The incidence of noise induced hearing loss caused by noisy working conditions is far from a resolved issue, even with greater employer and employee awareness of regulations stipulating the requirement of hearing protection. Currently, there may be as many as 1.1 million people still at risk of hearing damage or the onset of tinnitus at their place of work. At this expected noise level, employers must inform their workforce with clear information regarding the effects and risk of noise and how they can protect their hearing. When workplace noise levels exceed this threshold, the regulations state that employers must enforce the use of hearing protection. Remedial actions include noise absorption panels to reduce sound reflection or machinery modification to eliminate unacceptable operating noise.
Europeans’ overall satisfaction with hearing aids is relatively high (72% to 86%, depending on country) and comparable to figures in North America (74%). It is the ambition to develop EuroTrak to become a point of reference for different stakeholders. In Europe, the relative proportion of elderly people is highest in Germany, and much has been made of that country’s zero or even negative population growth. The benefits of binaural amplification have been proven in myriad studies, and EuroTrak data demonstrate that one goal for European dispensers might be a concerted push for parity in this regard. It declines with decreasing age, but increases again for the younger segments, especially in Europe.
Note that the US data applies to first-time purchasers only, while the EuroTrak data applies to all hearing aid owners. Hearing-impaired non-owners were asked related questions to get an indication of their knowledge about the possibility of third-party payment.
For comparison, MarkeTrak VIII1 shows that 40% of US hearing aid purchases involved some form of third-party payment (including VA). Nevertheless, the spread of the values across the countries gets higher for the difficult listening situations and sound-quality criteria.
Strikingly, only a slight increase in screenings occurred in individuals age 65+ following this stipulation. EuroTrak points to a remarkable information deficit among hearing-impaired non-owners concerning the third-party payment available to them. Satisfaction for hearing aids that were purchased 4 years ago or less ranges from 77% to 91%.
When asked what their parents or teachers would do if they knew how loud their music was, 78% of teens confessed they would tell them to lower the volume or wear protective gear. Ear protection should always be used in loud environments like concerts, sporting events and when operating power equipment. Enlist the help of a friend or Home Instead CAREGiverSM if you can’t be there with Mom or Dad. If you can’t be there, arrange for a family friend or professional caregiver to accompany him.
At specific locations designated hearing protection zones, the area must be clearly marked to indicate this level of noise, and employees must wear full ear protection.
Overall satisfaction with newer generation devices (77% to 91%) is even higher, and hearing aids are shown to have a positive impact on the quality of life of hearing-impaired individuals. However, it is the authors’ belief that the general conclusions, based on the comparison of the studies, remain unaffected. Since hearing loss is associated with aging (presbycusis), a higher prevalence of hearing loss would be expected there. As might be expected, retired people have the highest adoption rate, which is doubtlessly correlated with their age (for a comparison of age groups, see the above discussion relating to Figure 3).
Additionally, any of these factors are potentially influenced by the existing reimbursement schemes in each country. It has been shown that these tend to be the criteria where the biggest improvements for new hearing aid generations can be observed.
For the European countries, it was shown that hearing aids have a positive impact on quality of life. Furthermore, non-owners are more often employed compared to hearing aid owners, who are more often retired.
Another important reason for non-adoption is that people believe hearing aids are uncomfortable.



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