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It’s been one year since hearing aids became available over-the-counter in the United States. Even though the devices are widely accessible, for the most part, it doesn’t seem like many Americans understand how to get them or trust that they can help. Still, 64% of adults in the US over the age of 50 report hearing difficulties.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of Lexie Hearing. According to the results released Tuesday, 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 50 don’t know that hearing health can affect their overall health and well-being. People with hearing loss are twice as likely to report having poor mental health compared to their peers who don’t have hearing problems. 

The survey was based on data from more than 1,012 adults over the age of 50 in the US. It was conducted in September 2023.

Of the people surveyed, only 14% have tried hearing aids in general, whether over-the-counter or through a prescription. Nearly a quarter of the survey participants have never had a formal hearing test, according to the results.

People with hearing difficulties said the impairment affects their daily life and mental health. Of the participants in the survey, 55% said hearing issues affected their ability to enjoy entertainment, while 42% said it negatively affected their social lives and 40% said it had a negative impact on their personal relationships. Of the people surveyed, 32% of them said hearing loss affected their mental health in a negative way. Some 46% of people with hearing problems said other people don’t comprehend how much the impairments have affected their lives.

Clinical evidence supports over-the-counter hearing aids in some people, yet 28% of those surveyed didn’t have plans to purchase the devices, the survey showed. More than half of the participants weren’t sure if they needed a prescription to get over-the-counter hearing aids. A total of  38% are worried about having hearing issues as they age.