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Trinity Study confirms low use of
hearing aids by Irish adults.

Trinity Study confirms low use of hearing aids by Irish adults
Posted: 14th March 2017

A major longitudinal study of older Irish adults has recently confirmed that there is a very low uptake of hearing aids by those who have acquired a hearing loss. TILDA– The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, is a large–scale study on ageing in Ireland carried out by Trinity College in collaboration with a number of other agencies, with the overarching aim to make Ireland the best place to grow old.

It began in 2009 with over 8,000 participants, and has published a number of reports in the intervening years. The most recent report published in March 2017 included some important findings in relation to hearing loss.

Hearing loss: Key findings

The 2017 TILDA report included over 6,000 participants aged 54 years and over. Just over one third (37%) reported that they had experienced hearing loss, with higher rates in men compared to women (41% men compared to 32% of women). Some of this difference may be due to increased exposure of men to occupational noise in previous decades.

These figures are based on self–reporting of hearing loss and are reasonably consistent with estimates based on prevalence studies elsewhere. UK studies of the prevalence of hearing loss have found that 40% of adults aged over 50 have some level of hearing loss, with over 20% having a moderate or greater hearing loss.

For those aged over 70, more than 70% have some level of hearing loss, and over 40% have a moderate or greater level of hearing loss. A person with a moderate hearing loss will have difficulty considerable communication difficulties without some form of amplification.

TILDA also found that 29% of participants reported some or a lot of difficulty following a conversation with up to four people. Men were more likely to report this difficulty (32% of men, 25% of women).
However, only 8% of participants reported that they used a hearing aid some or all of the time. This finding confirms DeafHear’s estimation that less than one third of Irish adults with hearing loss who need hearing aids actually have them.


Less than one third of those who
need hearing aids actually have them.


TILDA findings: Less social participation, increased loneliness. Trinity Study confirms low use of hearing aids in Irish adults 2017.

TILDA also found that hearing loss has a wider impact on a person’s quality of life. TILDA used an assessment tool that measures quality of life across various domains called the CASP-12. “Individuals who report fair or poor hearing have lower CASP–12 scores indicating reduced quality of life compared to those who rated their hearing as good, very good or excellent” (TILDA, 2017, 173).

TILDA also found that those with hearing loss had reduced levels of active social participation, especially for older women. They also found that “older adults with fair or poor hearing tend to have a higher number of depressive symptoms compared to those with better self-rated hearing”. This finding was consistent across all the age categories and for both men and women. Other studies have reported that people with untreated hearing loss have up to three times the risk of developing depression.

TILDA also found that those who reported having a hearing loss experienced higher levels of loneliness, and this was particularly the case for older women.

TILDA conclusions

TILDA noted that hearing aids can improve several aspects of life affected by hearing loss. TILDA also noted that hearing aids are not successful for everyone. However, it is worth noting that studies elsewhere have shown that those who delay the longest before seeking treatment for their hearing loss are most likely to struggle to adapt to wearing hearing aids.


10 years:

the average time a person waits to
seek treatment for their hearing loss.


TILDA conclude that the use of hearing aids is low in the Irish population, and that screening for hearing loss at an earlier stage and promoting the use of hearing aids has the potential to improve the ageing experience for many older adults.

Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Advocacy says that the TILDA findings are at the core of DeafHear’s Mind Your Hearing campaign. He says that staff in DeafHear know only too well the impact of hearing loss on people’s lives, but it remains a condition that is often ignored by health professionals and the individuals affected. “We shall be continuing our efforts to encourage people to get hearing aids earlier” he said. Line Break Image

Related to this story…

Hearing Aids helps keep your brain healthy!
Posted: 5th November 2015

A French study has confirmed for the first time that using hearing aids slows down the rate of cognitive decline for people with hearing loss. Cognitve decline includes things like memory and concentration. [Read On] Hearing Aids helps keep your brain healthy!



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