MarkeTrak IX—Update 2015
Abrams and Kihm (2015) report that the latest MarkeTrak (MT9) is a significant departure from the eight preceding surveys. Specifically, they used an online survey technique to survey 17,000 households including some 1,000 people who wear hearing aids, and 2,000 people with hearing loss, who do not own hearing aids.
Previous studies have indicated some 11 percent of people surveyed have self-reported hearing loss, while only 3 percent have hearing aids. Not surprisingly, Abrams and Kihm report that the incidence of hearing loss and the incidence of hearing aid ownership does increase with age. Men report slightly more hearing loss (12 percent of men and 9 percent of women) and hearing aid ownership (4 percent of men and 3 percent of women) than women. T he first-time user (FTU) age appears to have declined from 69 years of age (reported in MT8), to 63 years (MT9) and the FTU represents some 57 percent of purchasers, per MT9, as opposed to 37 percent previously reported.
With regard to the mythical “seven-year rule” (i.e., people know about their hearing loss for seven years before they act on it), MT9 indicates purchasers of hearing aids kne w about their hearing loss for 13 years prior to acquiring hearing aids and people with hearing loss who do not acquire hearing aids have known about their hearing loss for nine and half years. With respect to income, hearing aid owners appear to have an approximate income of $66,000, whereas non-owners earn approximately $54,000 annually and most owners are retired.
Abrams and Kihm report consumers are more positive about their hearing aids and their experience when their hearing care professional is organized and efficient and the needs and abilities of the consumer have been taken into consideration—and when the consumer gets quality counseling. They report the primary care physician does indeed influence a “sizable proportion of the market.” Abrams and Kihm report that the primary “drivers of hearing aid satisfaction” are based on sound quality, value, and the effectiveness of enhanced features (including noise reduction, ease of use, spatial awareness, and feedback management). O f tremendous importance, the most common reasons people don’t purchase hearing aids are financial constraints and a “lack of perceived need.”
For More Information, References, and Recommendations
Abrams H, Kihm J. (2015) An Introduction to MarkeTrak IX—A New Baseline for the Hearing Aid Market. Hearing Review June.