EuroTrak Germany: hearing tests more likely

Eurotrak 2018


45 % of people questioned in the latest Eurotrak survey in Germany say they have had a hearing test in the last five years, far higher than numbers reported in France and the UK. Hearing loss prevalence is also higher, along with the number of hours that hearing aids are worn. 97 % of hearing aid owners say they improve their quality of life.

13,583 people were surveyed during 2018 for the German EuroTrak, which was designed and executed by Anovum, on behalf of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA). In previous years, not all data was released for the German EuroTrak, so it was diffi cult to get a good overview or compare to other countries involved in the survey. This year, however, all results from EuroTrak Germany have been published. 12.2% of 13,583 people surveyed said they have a hearing loss, the highest prevalence of hearing loss in the 2018 surveys published so far. However, compared to the UK and France, Germany has the lowest penetration, with 36.9% of people obtaining hearing instruments. 71% of people questioned wear binaural hearing instruments, although this number has decreased slightly from the 2015 survey when 75% of people said they were wearing two products. As in other countries, adoption rates in Germany are lower for those with mild and moderate hearing loss. 21% of people with mild hearing loss have hearing instruments compared to 66% of those with severe to profound hearing loss. Germans are the most likely to have had their hearing tested in the last fi ve years, with 45% of those questioned visiting a professional to be checked. 60% of these visits were to an ENT doctor.

Two-thirds of hearing aid owners purchased their products in the last three years and typically two years pass between them becoming aware of their hearing loss and purchasing hearing instruments. On average hearing aids are used for six years before they are replaced. Only 39% knew the brand of hearing aid they were wearing. 15% of owners use an accessory with their hearing instrument (such as a remote control, TV streamer, or app). 70% of them claim to be satisfied with the accessory.

Longer hours = greater satisfaction

In all countries, satisfaction with hearing instruments is higher for those people who wear the products the longest. In Germany hearing aids are worn, on average, for 9 hours a day – more than one hour longer than France and the UK. 82% of the hearing aid owners say their hearing aids work better than or as expected and there has been a significant positive impact of hearing aids on different aspects of their lives. 76% are either satisfied or very satisfied with their hearing instruments; those with the newest products experience greater satisfaction. They are especially impactful on communication effectiveness, participation in group activities and people’s sense of safety. Two-thirds of hearing aid owners feel more confident moving in a city now they have their hearing instruments. These benefits are also witnessed and appreciated by significant others in the household, with communication and social activities greatly improved. Many report less arguments with their significant other! 97% of hearing aid owners in Germany declare that their hearing aids improve their quality of life at least sometimes and 71% of hearing aid owners think people don’t make fun of or reject them because of their hearing aids. It is more likely somebody makes fun or rejects a hearing-impaired person who does not wear a hearing aid.

95% of the working hearing aid owners state that their hearing aids are useful on their job and people with hearing aids recognise that wearing their instruments increase the chance of getting promoted, obtaining the right job and increasing their salary. 60% of all hearing instrument owners wish they had purchased their hearing aids sooner. Reasons given for this vary. Many say the products give them a better social life (72%), 52% say they have better mental and emotional health. 19% think they are performing better at work and 15% say being less fatigued at night would have encouraged them to purchase sooner.

Related health issues

When considering their general health, hearing aid owners state they have a lower risk of being depressed (PHQ-2 Screening) compared to impaired non-owners with comparable hearing loss. Compared to impaired hearing aid non-owners with significant hearing loss, hearing aid owners feel less exhausted in the evenings - 39% of those wearing hearing aids say they are physically exhausted in the evening compared to 62% of those who do not wear hearing instruments. The mental exhaustion figures are 31% of hearing aid wearers and 52% of those not wearing hearing instruments.

Quality of sleep appears to improve if the hearing-impaired use hearing aids, with 65% satisfied with their quality of sleep; this compares to 43% of those with hearing loss that choose not to wear hearing instruments.

30% of the hearing impaired German population think that hearing loss could be linked to depression, 22% link it to sleeping disorders and high blood pressure too. The EuroTrak survey also asks questions to those people who state they are hearing impaired but do not own hearing instruments. The most common reason for non-purchase is ‘uncomfortable’, ‘not restoring hearing to normal’ and they believe their hearing loss is not severe enough. 10% say they do not know where to get hearing aids from. 45% of nonowners think that a hearing aid (including service) should cost them less than 500 euros. The number one reason given by hearing aid owners for not wearing their devices is inability to function well in noise.)

Article written from the data of the EuroTrak UK survey 2018, completed by Anovum for EHIMA (European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers’ Association)

Victoria Adshead, editor in chief of Audio Infos UK