Use of hearing aids on the increase in Poland

Hearing aid (HA) use in Poland has grown significantly, with many people choosing to head directly to the audiologist with concerns about their hearing.

These are some of the results of the latest EuroTrak POL 2023 survey of Poland which took place four years after the first survey in 2019. It involved a sample size of over 15,000, of which more than 1,300 were hearing impaired. The survey determined that 456 of these were hearing aid owners.

Some 40% of the entire sample had had a hearing test in the last five years and it was seen that family doctors do most tests followed by ENTs and the audiologist. The latter saw a significant increase in attendance, with 42% of ENT consultations being referred to an audiologist.

Some 28% of those with self-declared hearing loss are hearing aid users, again a noticeable jump on 2019, when it was just 21.4%. Interestingly, 58% of hearing aid owners have binaural treatment compared with 42% in 2019. Overall, use is increasing, as 63% of the currently owned HAs were acquired in 2020 or later. There are high levels of satisfaction with their use, with three-quarters of hearing aid owners saying their hearing aid works better than or as expected, and 97% of owners agreeing their hearing aids improve their quality of life at least occasionally.

Most (72%) will discuss their hearing loss with an ENT doctor or family doctor, and for most, action will be recommended. Some 78% of the GP consultations were referred to an ENT, 18% to an HA dispenser or audiologist, and 12% to get hearing aids. Just 7% recommended no action.

It was also seen that dropout rates have fallen significantly since the last survey; for example, although 45 per cent of hearing impaired people will be recommended to use hearing aids, 28% will buy them. This represents a dropout rate of 39%; however, in 2019 this rate was 49%, showing a much better uptake of corrective action by means of hearing aids. The survey also found that one out of four people with impaired hearing had already tried other solutions, such as drugs, sprays or plasters to improve their hearing.

The survey clearly illustrated the potential social cost-savings due to the use of hearing aids. Overall, hearing aids are believed to have a positive impact on working life with 93% of the hearing aid owners with employment stating that their hearing aids are useful on their job. In addition, those with hearing aids recognize that hearing aids increase the chance of achieving promotion, finding suitable jobs and earning a higher salary. Hearing aid owners also reported a lower risk of being depressed, and that their quality of sleep seems to improve from using hearing aids.

Tech assistance is growing, with 35% of hearing aid owners saying they use a hearing aid app and the majority reporting being happy with it.

The survey shows an overall growth in hearing aid adoption in Poland, with positive messages emerging in relation to hearing screening and intervention. EuroTrak POL 2023 is part of the EuroTrak / APACTrak studies, which aim to paint a comprehensive picture of the quality of hearing care in major geographies worldwide.

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