John Hopkins just completed some new research into the prevalence of hearing aid use. The findings were more somewhat disturbing for music therapists.
The researchers found that only 4.3% of individuals between the ages of 50 - 59 who have more than 25 dB of hearing loss are using a hearing aid. The percentage only increases to 22% for individuals over 80 years old!
The study estimates that 22.9 million older Americans with significant hearing loss are not using a hearing aid!
As the baby boomer generation begins consuming more and more health services, we need to be aware of the impacts this will have as we try to provide music therapy. It may affect their music preference, motivation to listen to music, and ability to respond to musical cues. At the very least, we will have to be more cognizant of hearing problems in our assessment protocols.