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Few Chinese people with hearing loss use hearing aids

Only 1 out of 16 Chinese people who could benefit from hearing aids actually use hearing aids, a Chinese study finds.

In the study, 34% of the participants were in need of hearing aids. However, only 6.5% of those who could benefit from them actually used hearing aids.

The study consisted of 4,421 participants aged 65 years and older of which 2,969 had a hearing loss greater than 25 dB with some degree of hearing loss. 1,503 were identified as in need of hearing aids by audiologists. This is 34% of all participants in the study. Those in the need of hearing aids had a significant hearing loss and needed amplification for day to day communication based on the WHO Ear and Hearing Disorder Survey Protocol E.11-2.

92% of the 1,503 persons who were in the need of hearing aids identified themselves as having a hearing loss.

Only 97 of those in the study used hearing aids, which is only 6.5% of those who were identified as in need of hearing aids.

The proportion of those with mild, moderate and severe hearing loss were 22.6%, 52.3% and 25.2% respectively.

92% of the 1,503 who were in need of hearing aids had not had a hearing test carried out within the past 12 months of the survey.

The study used data from a population-based survey on ear and hearing disorders which was conducted in 4 provinces of China in 2014 and 2015. Trained examiners conducted pure tone audiometry and audiologists further ascertained for hearing loss.

Deafness Forum comments

This study was conducted in China. One of the challenges in China is access to services – the number of hearing care professionals per capita is significantly lower than in Australia. But are there cultural issues also at play? While it cannot be said that the same low use of hearing aids exists among people of Chinese descent living in Australia, research into the topic could be valuable.