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Good hearing – a question of the right hearing aid?

FAU Gerontologists are currently studying the everyday use of hearing aids

Researchers from the Institute of Gerontology at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) are currently studying the experience of the elderly with their hearing aids, who wears hearing aids and when, the difficulties experienced when wearing a hearing aid and situations where hearing aids either help or hinder. An online questionnaire has been launched to help researchers answer these questions. The study focuses on men and women aged 50 and above who wear any type of hearing aid and have access to the internet at home. Anyone can participate in the study regardless of whether they wear a hearing aid occasionally or regularly. The study is accessible via the Institute’s research website GEROTEST at www.gerotest.de until 30 June 2012. The online questionnaire is anonymous and takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.

“Does your partner complain from time to time that the television is turned up too loud? Can you not hear the telephone or the doorbell ring? Do you sometimes have difficulty understanding announcements in supermarkets or trains? Such occurrences are symptomatic of presbycusis,” says Prof. Dr. Frieder R. Lang, who manages the project. Presbycusis is regarded as the second most common age-related chronic illness as 37% of 60 to 69-year-olds and more than 60% of 70 to 79-year-olds complain of diminishing hearing. Men are more frequently affected than women and loss of hearing is usually limited to high pitches. “The daily life of those with presbycusis is often affected quite dramatically,” explains Prof. Lang. “In addition to misunderstandings and conflicts with family members, presbycusis can also lead to a higher risk of accidents in everyday life or lead to social isolation.”

Hearing aid technology offers good solutions for diminishing hearing nowadays; however, only a quarter of the hearing impaired currently have a hearing aid at their disposal. But, in many cases, even those who have bought a hearing aid only use it irregularly. Many people even stop using their hearing aids altogether after a few months. The causes of this poor dissemination and use of hearing aids are multifarious. Besides financial and aesthetic aspects, quality deficits in hearing aids are most frequently cited as a reason. That is why the FAU Gerontologists systematically examine experiences in the use of the devices in the course of their research project. It is their goal to improve hearing aids according to the wishes and needs of the hard of hearing.

For further information on the project call Bettina Williger at the Institute of Psychogerontology under +49 (0)9131 85 26558 or send an e-mail to hoeren@geronto.uni-erlangen.de.

Weitere Informationen für die Medien:

Prof. Dr. Frieder R. Lang
Bettina Williger
Tel.: 09131/85-26526 oder -26558
hoeren@geronto.uni-erlangen.de

uni | media service | research No. 17/2012 on 9.5.2012

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