Many people with hearing loss don’t wear hearing aids: study

February 29, 2012

Baltimore – Approximately 26.7 million Americans 50 and older have hearing loss, but only about 14 percent of those people use a hearing aid, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University.

The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2006. In a university press release, researchers said many people with hearing loss likely avoid hearing aid use because health insurance often does not cover the costs and people consider hearing loss inevitable and of minor concern.

Another recent Johns Hopkins study linked hearing loss to an increased risk of falls among older adults. Data was collected from 40- to 69-year-old participants of the NHANES from 2001 to 2004. Study authors found that people with mild hearing loss were about 3 times more likely to have a history of falling. Researchers speculated that people who cannot hear well may have reduced awareness of their overall environment, making falling more likely, according to a press release.

Both studies were published online in February in Archives of Internal Medicine.