2022 Hearing Aid Survey – Aging In Place.org

Originally Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Written by:
Alex Bass

Today’s hearing aids are more discreet and technologically advanced than ever, especially considering the original hearing aid was the ear trumpet, a horn held to the ear for people to speak into.

Despite these advancements in style and function, people needing hearing aids may still be reluctant to get them.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to communication problems that cause older adults to socially withdraw and be perceived as confused. Lack of social engagement is thought to increase older adults’ risk of dementia and hasten physical decline. Hearing aids not only compensate for hearing loss but also keep older adults connected to their families and communities for healthier aging.

AgingInPlace.org connects older adults and their loved ones with educational resources so older adults can independently live at home. Our team has spent more than 1,000 hours researching, testing, and reviewing popular hearing aids on behalf of our readers. We recently surveyed hearing aid users to understand their top device choices, the factors influencing their purchases, their purchasing process, and how they feel about their hearing loss and hearing aids.

Survey Insights

In-the-ear hearing aids are the most popular hearing aid style. Not as noticeable as behind-the-ear or as discreet as invisible hearing aids, middle-of-the-road in-the-ear hearing aids were the most preferred style, purchased by 32.9% of survey respondents. In-the-ear hearing aids don’t loop around the ear like behind-the-ear hearing aids. They also aren’t invisible hearing aids because they can be seen at the ear canal’s opening. The second most popular choice was the traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids that loop around the ear.

A hearing aid’s comfort and stability are the most important qualities to consumers when shopping for hearing aids. Following closely behind were a hearing aid’s volume amplification, battery life, and background noise reduction. Price and aesthetics ranked behind these other qualities.

Most people are not paying for hearing aids solely out of pocket. Many of the respondents we surveyed, 79.6%, used personal insurance, Medicare Advantage, or funds from a Health Savings or Flexible Spending Account to cover at least a portion of their hearing aid expenses. Only 20.4% reported paying for the entire purchase out of pocket.

How did you get your hearing aids

Even with direct-to-consumer hearing aids available online, most hearing aid users still purchase their hearing aids from an audiologist. Nearly half of all respondents (47.1%) went to an audiologist to get their hearing aids versus 31.8% who shopped online. Most hearing aid users (42.6%) still prefer to go to an audiologist for adjustments in person, while only 23.5% prefer getting their adjustments from an audiologist over the phone.

Hesitation about getting the hearing aid

The high cost of hearing aids is the number one reason people are hesitant to buy them. Cost was the biggest barrier to purchase reported by most respondents (52.9%), followed by lack of knowledge about hearing aids (39.7%) and concerns of stigma and aesthetics (39%).

The most to least popular hearing aid style

“Communication is the foundation of relationships. Good hearing health eliminates the frustration of missing out on conversations and being isolated from social situations and the people you love, reducing your risk of social isolation and depression,” Hillary Taylor, Au.D, Vice President of Audiology for Livingston Hearing Aid Center, told us. “The earlier a person can treat their hearing loss with hearing aids the better because untreated hearing loss over time can increase the risk for cognitive decline and decrease the amount of benefit received from hearing aids.”

87.4% of hearing aid users consider their hearing aids a worthwhile purchase

The most to least popular hearing aid styles are: In the ear (32.9%), Behind the ear (25.9%), Invisible (17.8%), In the canal (12.3%), and Receiver in canal (7.8%)

52.9% of people say the high cost of hearing aids is the biggest reason they’re hesitant to buy them

Only 20.4% of people pay for their hearing aid purchase completely out of pocket

43.5% of hearing aid users’ biggest regret about their hearing loss is that they didn’t avoid activities that damaged their ears

42.5% of people wish they had more consistently checked their hearing when they were younger

AgingInPlace.org surveyed 1,000 hearing aid users. We referenced feedback from a medical reviewer to help determine our survey questions. Survey participants ranged from age 25 and older, with the highest percentage of individuals falling between 35-44 years old. Our respondents were located in almost all 50 states and represented gender and racial diversity.


Writer & Contributor

Alex is a writer and speech-language pathologist, specialized in caring for older adults with communication disorders. She writes health and medicine content, with a focus on hearing aids and medical alert systems for AgingInPlace.org.

Original at https://aginginplace.org/2022-hearing-aids-survey/