- Published on 29 October 2018
The fourth EuroTrak to be undertaken in France continues to show a positive picture with satisfaction with hearing aids over 80% and 65% wishing they had obtained hearing aids sooner. The EuroTrak survey also shows potential social cost savings due to the use of hearing aids: work competitiveness is increased, fewer depressive symptoms are shown and hearing aid wearers enjoying improved sleep quality.
15,061 people were surveyed about their hearing for the EuroTrak study in France in 2018. The work was designed and executed by Anovum on behalf of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA). 10% of the people surveyed have a hearing loss and 41% of this group have hearing instruments. This hearing aid adoption rate has jumped from 34.1% in 2015. 71% of hearing aid owners have binaural products. The 2018 EuroTrak survey shows the significant impact of hearing aids on different aspects of daily life, especially with communication, participation in group activities and relationships at home. 97% of French hearing aid owners declare that their hearing aids improve their quality of life at least sometimes and 65% wish they had obtained them sooner. When asked why they should have obtained hearing aids sooner, 66% said they now had a better social life, 54% are experiencing better mental and emotional health and 37% say they are less fatigued in the evening.
82% of those people wearing instruments state they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their hearing aids. 75% believe their hearing aids work better than or as expected. As seen in previous EuroTrak surveys, satisfaction correlates with usage, with the most satisfied being those that wear their hearing aids for the longest periods of time. Overall satisfaction with hearing aids is highest in France for those people with instruments purchased in the last two years and for those who wear their hearing instruments for more than 8 hours per day.
Whilst 82% of people state they are satisfied with their hearing aids, this number jumps to 89% for those whose instruments are less than 2 years old. Satisfaction increases from 54% when worn for up to 4 hours per day to over 88% when worn for longer than 8 hours a day.
Satisfaction with dispenser professionalism amongst hearing aid wearers is high at 87%, with quality of service, counselling and aftersales service also at 87%. Although 89% are happy with their hearing aid performance when in a one-to-one conversation, 85% at home with family members and 84% with listening to music, satisfaction with performance in noisy situations is lower at 68%, so there is still some work to do in the more complex auditory environments.
Quality of life improvements
Hearing aids are seen to have a positive impact on jobs and promotion prospects. Hearing aid owners have a lower risk of being depressed and they also state that quality of sleep seems to improve when hearing aids are used. 95% of the working hearing aid owners’say their hearing aids are useful in their job. People recognise that hearing aids increase the chance of promotion for the hearingimpaired population, help to get the right job and increase their salary.
The 2018 results once again show that hearing aid owners have a lower risk of being depressed (PHQ-2 Screening) compared to impaired non-owners with comparable hearing loss. Hearing aid wearers report being less physically and mentally exhausted in the evenings and they are happier with the quality of sleep they achieve.
Route to treatment
36% of those surveyed in France had a hearing test in the last five years, with 17% having a test in the last 12 months. The ENT doctor was most likely to do the testing (51%) and were the most important source of information – and therefore the major gatekeeper – along with family doctors and hearing aid dispensers. Data from the French responses show on average three years pass between people becoming aware of a potential hearing loss and the purchase of hearing aids. Hearings aids are typically replaced after six years (although 13% replace them between 1 and 3 years).
87% of hearing aid owners received some form of 3rd party reimbursement, however, knowledge about third party payments among non-owners is still relatively low but has increased since 2015. A specialised hearing aid store was the most popular choice for obtaining hearing instruments, with 78% purchasing from these stores. Opticians accounted for 10% and pharmacy 6%. When asked where they would go for hearing instruments, 80% of non-owners said they would visit the specialised hearing aid store.
Reasons for not having hearing aids
The main reasons given by the French survey population for not obtaining hearing aids are financial (they cannot afford them), the opinion of the professional (ENTs, GPs and HCPs) and they also believe they will be uncomfortable. For those with hearing instruments, the most important influencing factors for this group obtaining them were worsening hearing loss, ENT and significant others influence. It will be interesting to see the 2021 EuroTrak results after the introduction of the new “full reimbursement” scheme in 2019.
Article written from the data of the EuroTrak UK survey 2018, completed by Anovum for EHIMA (European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers’ Association)