World Hearing Day 2020

Living with unaddressed hearing loss means unknowingly missing out on important sounds and words, making it difficult and tiring to carry out conversations and interact socially.

WHD 2020 International Survey Report

MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. In light of World Hearing Day 2020, MED-EL asked more than 12,000 people worldwide about their hearing habits.

Research methodology

An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 12,325 respondents from UK, USA, China, Italy, UAE, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Israel, Spain, Colombia and Argentina. The research fieldwork took place on 1st January – 10th January 2020. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

Facts & Figures

Hearing loss concerns

Frustration at communication difficulties is the main concern (31%) in case of hearing loss – with 17% also fearing social isolation and personal safety risk.

Frequency of hearing tests

A third of respondents (31%) never had their hearing checked – with 22% having done last time 5-10 years ago.

Behaviour in everyday life in order to hear (better)

However, in day to day life, 29% of respondents turn the TV/Radio volume too high, use subtitles or AD description (18%) or need to stand very close to people that speak to them (17%) – in order to hear.

Communicating with people with hearing loss

Additionally – 38% of respondents had to ask the other person to raise their voice so they can be heard; 19% used text or emails in order to communicate with someone who couldn’t hear them.

Knowing someone with hearing issues

A quarter of respondents (26%) don’t know anyone with hearing issues, 39% know a close family member and another 10% a distant family member; 15% think they themselves suffer with hearing issues.

Hesitancy when it comes to hearing tests

The main reason why people don’t have their hearing checked (more often) is because they don’t think is a priority (41%) followed by lack of awareness on the topic (22%).

Potential encouragement to take a hearing test on a regular basis

Some of the ways to motivate/encourage people to take a hearing test more often are: mandatory yearly check-ups (35%), if GP could do it (29%) or if more awareness campaign (24%).

Society’s role in dealing with hearing loss

Nearly half of respondents (48%) think the society is doing something but not enough for the people with hearing loss.

Sounds associated with the place of living

Respondents associate traffic (37%) most with their place of living, followed by the sounds of animals, like barking dogs (34%). Buskers on the street (5%), water fountains (5%) and underground trains (6%) is what respondents associate least with their home.

Most appreciated city sounds

When in the city, respondents appreciate the sounds of birds chirping (42%) most, followed by music (37%) and the sound of water (accumulated 58%). Bus bells (4%), car horns (4%) and street cleaners (3%) are the sounds least appreciated by respondents.

Most disliked city sounds

Globally, construction noises such as drilling (46%) and general traffic noise including car horns (45%), car alarms (39%) and sirens (33%) are the most disturbing sounds when in a city. The least disturbing and disliked sounds include people chatting (7%) and bike bells (6%).

Full Survey

Download the survey with detailed information on the different countries.

Download Survey [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Download Survey 2019 [PDF, 2.6 MB]

Hearing Test

When you or someone in your life is affected by hearing loss, check your hearing, encourage your loved ones to check their own hearing and offer support.

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About hearing

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The HearPeers Mentor Programme offers valuable information and support on life with a hearing implant. It allows you to connect directly with other hearing implant users – the HearPeers Mentors.

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