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Survey Highlights Gaps In Consumer Knowledge of Hearing Loss

Survey Highlights Gaps In Consumer Knowledge of Hearing Loss

May 2011

Songbird Hearing Inc. (www.songbirdhearing.com), a leading developer and manufacturer of high-quality, low-cost hearing devices, today announced the results of its consumer survey which examined consumer knowledge and perception of hearing issues and technology. The nation-wide study polled 526 US consumers ages 21-75.

The survey revealed that consumers are concerned about their hearing, yet are unaware of how easy it is to damage one’s hearing. In addition, a very high percentage of consumers identified that they or someone they know has difficulty hearing, yet were unaware of the number of people with hearing loss or that so few of the affected were doing anything about it.

Cost was the leading factor affecting hearing aid use; consumers perceive hearing aids to be expensive. In addition, consumers would be more likely to purchase a hearing aid if they did not have to go to a hearing exam or in-office fitting.

“We are pleased to support Better Hearing and Speech Month and help raise awareness of hearing loss and the options available to address that impairment,” said Christopher DiCostanzo, President and CEO, Songbird Hearing, Inc. “Respondents identified cost as a key barrier to purchase, and over half of the respondents estimated the average cost of a professional hearing aid to be $1100 or higher. It is important for consumers to know that there are proven low-cost, high-quality hearing aid options available at a much lower cost that are available with and without a hearing exam.”

Better Hearing and Speech Month, which takes place annually in May, is dedicated to raising public awareness, knowledge and understanding of the various forms of communication impairments including hearing, speech, language and voice.

Among the survey’s most significant findings are:

Consumers are Concerned About Their Hearing, yet Unaware of How Easy it is to Damage Their Hearing

82 percent of respondents ranked the overall health of their hearing very important and 64 percent have worried about their hearing.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), prolonged exposure to any noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause gradual hearing loss. Just over 40 percent of respondents were not aware of how easy it is to damage one’s hearing in each of the following situations:

* 42 percent were unaware that just 5 minutes of exposure a day to listening to music on an iPod at full volume can put them at risk of permanent hearing loss.

* 43 percent were unaware that a clap of thunder from a nearby storm (120 dB) or a gunshot (140-190 dB, depending on weapon) can both cause immediate damage.

A High Percentage of Consumers Know Someone With Hearing Loss

A high percentage of consumers know someone that has difficulty hearing, or have been in situations that have affected their ability to hear:

* 79 percent of respondents have difficulty hearing or know someone who has difficulty hearing.

* 83 percent of respondents between the ages of 21-45 have been home for the holidays and found an older family member or friend blasting the volume on their TV.

* 49 percent of respondents between the ages of 46-75 felt that difficulty hearing in certain situations has negatively impacted their enjoyment.

However, only 34 percent of respondents were aware that roughly 35 million people suffer from hearing loss in the US today and less than 25 percent are doing anything about it.

Cost is the Leading Factor Affecting Hearing Aid Use

Respondents felt that the greatest barrier to why people do not purchase hearing devices was cost (61 percent), followed by comfort and size/bulkiness. Additionally, consumers perceived the cost of hearing aid technology to be expensive. Eighty-eight percent of respondents estimated the average cost of a professional hearing aid to be $500 or higher, and 51 percent estimated the average cost to be $1100 or higher.

About the Survey

Conducted in May 2011, the survey polled 526 US consumers ages 21-75, to gauge their awareness and perception of digital hearing technology, and garner information on their perceptions and knowledge associated with hearing loss. To receive a complete summary of the results, please visit www.songbirdhearing.com or email Michael Levey at Michael@0to5.com.

About Songbird(r) Hearing

Songbird(r) is a leading developer and manufacturer of hearing devices that provide consumers with affordable options to help them hear better without having to sacrifice sound quality. Our high quality hearing devices are based on Texas Instruments technology, and deliver outstanding sound quality comparable to much more expensive devices. Our products are convenient, safe, easy-to-use and offered with superior levels of customer service that empower users to improve their quality of life. Songbird(r) is also the maker of the world’s first and only disposable hearing device. For more information, visit www.songbirdhearing.com or call 1-800-SONGBIRD.

SOURCE Songbird Hearing Inc.