Access to adults’ hearing aids: policies and technologies used in eight countries
Michael Yong, Amber Willink, Catherine McMahon, Bradley McPherson, Carrie L Nieman, Nicholas S Reed & Frank R Lin
As the proportion of older adults in the world’s total population continues to grow, the adverse health outcomes of age-related hearing loss are becoming increasingly recognized. While research has shown that age-related hearing loss is the single greatest modifiable risk factor for dementia, use of hearing aids remains low worldwide, even in many middle- and high-income countries. Reasons for poor uptake of hearing aids are likely to involve a combination of factors, ranging from increasing costs of hearing aid technology to a widespread lack of insurance coverage. This article aims to identify the current state of access to hearing aids, focusing on eight middle- and high-income countries. We discuss how to facilitate greater access to hearing aids for patients by addressing changes in how devices are regulated, technological advancements in hearing devices, the need to adjust reimbursement schemes and the importance of adaptation among the community workforce for hearing-care.