A new sociological study on hearing aids is said to show that “fitting people with hearing aids is not enough to treat the problem of hearing loss, and simultaneously resolve the health and social risks involved in age-related hearing loss,” the Association of Hearing Aid Professionals (Syndicat national des audioprothésistes, or UNSAF), a France-based association for hearing care dispensers, announced.
According to the association’s announcement, the authors of the study have concluded that, “the hearing aid professionals’ role is not solely to sell hearing aids but rather to fit people, monitor them, and provide care for them,” and therefore, they “believe that it is essential to consider this profession as participating in social and medical ‘care’ work.”
This study, authored by sociologists Pierre-André Juven and Frédéric Pierru, can be accessed online here.
The original French version was published in March 2018 and can be accessed here.
The study is said to document the “co-construction of the effectiveness of fitting a person with hearing aids” in relation to the profession. Additionally, the study stresses the importance of the hearing aid professional and their role in educating patients about their hearing loss, as well as the maintenance and tuning of their hearing care devices. Moreover, the authors point out the vital human component to hearing care: ie, hearing aid professionals must be willing to listen and take their individual clients’ needs and preferences into consideration when recommending treatment.
Therefore, “The public health concern is primarily to provide hearing aids to people who will keep their device and for whom it will be of use. Without taking into account the environment of hearing aid users and the ‘political’ and social nature (and not only the technical and business nature) of hearing, any regulation attempt is doomed to be reconsidered in 10 or 15 years, when we come to realize that savings will have been made over the short term in exchange for highly unsatisfactory health effects (and therefore economic effects) over the medium and long terms, in the very particular context of an aging population. Therefore, we think that it is important to protect this ‘care’ aspect among hearing aid professionals.”
On World Hearing Day on March 3, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted the rapid increase in the number of people suffering from disabling hearing loss, and recommended that the hearing impaired be able to access the services and technologies that they need.
Hearing Review published a study on the efficiency of European hearing aid reimbursement programs by Luis Godinho, UNSAF president, in January 2016, that can be accessed here. The study looked at data from seven different countries and compared hearing aid compliance and satisfaction rates, among other things.