A July 2020 survey by SeniorLiving.org cites cost as a key reason why 6.6 million people with hearing loss do not use hearing aids. The findings were based on a survey of 644 people over age 55 “including 176 adults who have been diagnosed by an audiologist with hearing loss.” The study notes that “our survey was limited to those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss, which is not necessarily the same as having hearing loss, as many people with hearing trouble either don’t realize it or don’t seek help for it.”

Some of the survey findings, including the use of hearing aids by age group, resemble NIH and MarkeTrak (MT) statistics for hearing aid usage. However, the attention-getter of cost (“Too expensive”, 38.2% of survey respondents) was actually the second most-common reason for not adopting hearing aids; the number-one reason cited was “Can manage without one” (56.9%). The other leading factors were: “Not prescribed” (24.5%); “Doctor deemed unnecessary” (16.7%); “Don’t want one” (15.9%); “Uncomfortable” (10.8%); and “Other assistive technology” (1.0%).

Screenshot from Senior.org survey, showing results to question about what hearing aid users and non-users can hear in the home without amplification.

The survey also contains a particularly interesting question regarding what hearing aid users and non-users can hear without a hearing device. The authors conclude, “The hearing aid users in our study indicated that without their hearing aid, the impact on their lives was major when compared to those who don’t use hearing aids. In fact, among hearing aid users, only 18 percent said that they’d be able to hear conversation in a crowded restaurant without their devices, compared to almost 40 percent of non-users.”

According to the study authors, the high-level results of the survey were:

  • At least 30 million American seniors have hearing loss.
  • 58% percent of those 55 and older who have hearing loss don’t use hearing aids.
  • More than 4 million seniors with hearing loss haven’t been prescribed hearing aids, meaning they could benefit from the devices being available over-the-counter.
  • Almost 78% of hearing aid users said the devices are too expensive.

See the full survey results at https://www.seniorliving.org/hearing/hearing-aid-study/