How do users and non-users of hearing aids differ?
Among hearing-impaired listeners there exist large differences in speech recognition in noise and in the individual benefits obtained from a hearing aid. For rehabilitation success, explanation of these variabilities is fundamental. Since auditory measures alone cannot comprehensively account for these differences, the role of other factors is currently being investigated.
Moreover, despite available devices and their benefits, only a minority of hearing-impaired individuals are using hearing aids. Given the possible negative side effects of not wearing hearing aids, it is of major interest to target this group of untreated hearing-impaired individuals with hearing support. Therefore, it is necessary to first characterize these individuals and contrast them to their supplied counterparts to obtain a descriptive consumer profile.
Differences between hearing aid candidates (the so-called hearing aid non-users, HA-NU) and hearing aid users (HA-U) might also provide additional information in terms of possibly relevant factors for predicting speech recognition in noise and individual hearing aid benefits.
Here, we compare elderly hearing-impaired hearing aid non-users with elderly hearing aid users matched for age, sex, and the degree of hearing impairment. Results indicate that HA-NU perceive their hearing problem subjectively as less severe than their supplied counterparts. Furthermore, HA-NU showed lower values than HA-U in the socioeconomic status and technology commitment.