People love hearing aids! But it hasn’t always been that way. That’s one reason why hearing aid manufacturers have spent the last ten years upgrading virtually every aspect of these tiny devices. Simultaneously, hearing specialists have improved treatment options and plans. Proving the success of these advancements, a new survey shows hearing aid satisfaction reaching record highs.
This data comes courtesy of a European hearing aid trade group, which has been tracking these particular numbers since 2009. And if there’s one insight we can take away from the 2019 results it’s this: things are looking up.
Hearing aids are now cool
That’s right. These days, hearing aids are cool. According to EHIMA’s survey, 76% of respondents reported satisfaction with the performance of their hearing aids. In 2009, that number was only 69%. And that’s from a survey of 175,000 individuals. Those respondents are a great representative sample for the millions of individuals around the world who wear hearing aids.
An improvement of seven percentage points represents thousands of individual people who are happier with the performance of their hearing aids. And that’s not even the most eye-catching result.
Other ways satisfaction is measured
There are a couple of other satisfaction-related metrics in this survey that go a long way towards showing just how much people with hearing impairments have come to love their hearing aids:
- In 2009, 56% of survey respondents were embarrassed by their hearing aids. In the 2019 results, that number is down to 30%. That’s a huge shift in the way people are thinking about their own hearing aids.
- Only 24% of today’s respondents felt that their hearing aids suffered from bad design. Ten years ago, that number was also at 56%, which is an even larger improvement.
- Today, roughly 80% of survey respondents are satisfied with the features available on their hearing aids. That’s ten points better than the results from a decade ago.
When taken as a whole, these survey results seem to show that people feel more comfortable wearing their hearing aids. The improvement in these metrics isn’t necessarily sudden–there’s been steady and long term progress year after year after year.
Have hearing aids been getting better?
There’s no doubt that these improvements in satisfaction are a good thing. The better your hearing aids work, the happier you’ll be. But knowing the specific drivers of this progress can help us make sure that user satisfaction continues to rise. Some of those reasons might include:
- Reduced stigma: As hearing aids become more common (in part due to a rise in hearing problems across ages), there’s less stigma (and, thus, embarrassment) associated with wearing these devices. Additionally, the notion of wearable technology has become widely accepted, so it gets harder to see the difference between your hearing aids and a Bluetooth headset.
- Better hearing algorithms: As researchers learn more and more about the human ear, they’re able to better replicate natural processes in hearing aids. As a result, a modern pair of hearing aids are able to process sound in a more sophisticated and complete way than their earlier counterparts. The most advanced hearing aids are able to adapt to the room you’re in and certain ambient noise levels.
- Technological integration: Your hearing aids are now more than sound amplification devices. These days, there’s so much technology crammed in: Bluetooth connectivity, health monitoring, fall protection, and prevention–you name it. Modern hearing aids are full-fledged technological marvels. So people tend to think of them more as “cool devices,” which helps improve overall popularity and satisfaction.
This list is, of course, non-exhaustive. The hearing aids themselves–both in terms of software and hardware–continue to improve, which means a better experience for a larger number of people.
Hearing aid satisfaction will continue to rise
We expect hearing aids to continue to innovate technologically, becoming more and more effective as time goes on. And we expect hearing professionals to continue to offer improving treatment options. And while that’s great for the industry, the real benefit is conveyed to those who need it most: those with hearing impairments.
Satisfaction with your hearing aid means that, ultimately, you’re going to hear better. People love their hearing aids–and they love them for a reason.