3. GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Nearly a Year After Hearing Aids Became Easier to Get, Survey Suggests People Still Aren’t Wearing Them

Nearly a Year After Hearing Aids Became Easier to Get, Survey Suggests People Still Aren’t Wearing Them
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Nearly a Year After Hearing Aids Became Easier to Get, Survey Suggests People Still Aren’t Wearing Them  CNET

Nearly a Year After Hearing Aids Became Easier to Get, Survey Suggests People Still Aren’t Wearing Them

A nationwide rule allowing hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter

Introduction

A nationwide rule allowing hearing aids to be sold over-the-counter for the treatment of mild or moderate hearing loss went into effect last fall. This rule removed the requirement for a prescription and fitting, making hearing aids more accessible and affordable. The availability of over-the-counter hearing aids has the potential to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

Survey Findings

A recent survey conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) suggests that there may not have been a significant impact from the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids nearly a year later. The survey revealed that only 8% of adults aged 40 and above who acknowledged their hearing loss had been treated for it. The most common reason for not seeking professional help was the belief that their hearing loss was not “bad enough” to warrant treatment or the use of hearing aids.

Low Uptake of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

Only 2% of individuals with hearing difficulties reported purchasing an over-the-counter hearing aid in the last six months, and only 4% expressed an intention to buy one. These findings indicate that many people with untreated hearing loss are not taking advantage of the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids. This delay in seeking treatment can have negative impacts on overall health and communication abilities, as recent research has shown that treating hearing loss with a hearing aid can reduce the risk of dementia by half.

Educational and Awareness Needs

The survey results highlight the need for increased education and awareness about over-the-counter hearing aids and who they are intended for. Over-the-counter devices are specifically designed for adults with mild or moderate hearing loss, while children and individuals with severe hearing loss still require professional fitting. Lindsay Creed, an audiologist and associate director of audiology practices at ASHA, emphasizes the importance of educating the public about the risks associated with untreated hearing loss and the impact it can have on quality of life.

Barriers to Seeking Treatment

Aside from the belief that their hearing loss is not severe enough, other reasons cited for not seeking treatment include not viewing hearing treatment as a priority, fear of looking old or aging, lack of knowledge about where to seek care, and cost concerns. The survey revealed that most individuals are willing to pay around $200 for an over-the-counter hearing aid, indicating a need for more affordable options in the market.

Addressing the Challenges

To increase access to hearing aids, it is crucial to reduce the stigma associated with them through representation and to lower the prices of over-the-counter devices through increased competition in the market. Additionally, expanding insurance coverage for hearing aids, especially for those with severe hearing loss who require prescription devices, is an important step towards improving access. Medicare currently does not cover the cost of hearing aids. Achieving these goals aligns with SDG 3 and SDG 10.

Conclusion

While the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids has the potential to improve access to hearing loss treatment, there are still significant barriers preventing individuals from seeking help. Increased education, awareness, and affordability are essential to ensure that more people benefit from over-the-counter hearing aids. Addressing these challenges will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, particularly SDG 3 and SDG 10.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being Target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being – Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have sought professional help or treatment
– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have purchased over-the-counter hearing aids
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status – Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have access to affordable hearing aids
– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have access to information about over-the-counter hearing aids
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Target 11.7: By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities – Availability of over-the-counter hearing aids in local communities
– Accessibility of hearing health professionals for screenings and fittings

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

The article discusses the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids and the low uptake of these devices among adults with hearing loss. This is directly related to the goal of promoting good health and well-being, specifically in terms of addressing hearing loss and providing accessible treatment options.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

The article highlights the barriers and inequalities faced by individuals with hearing loss in accessing treatment and affordable hearing aids. It emphasizes the need for education, awareness, and expanded insurance coverage to reduce these inequalities.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

The article mentions the goal of increasing accessibility and affordability of hearing loss treatment through over-the-counter devices. This aligns with the objective of providing inclusive and accessible services for persons with disabilities, including those with hearing loss.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

Target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being

The article addresses the need for early treatment and intervention for hearing loss, as untreated hearing loss can have impacts on overall health and well-being, including an increased risk of dementia.

Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status

The article highlights the barriers faced by individuals with hearing loss in seeking treatment, including affordability, lack of awareness, and stigma. It emphasizes the importance of promoting inclusion and reducing inequalities in access to hearing aids and healthcare services.

Target 11.7: By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

The article mentions the goal of increasing accessibility and affordability of hearing aids through over-the-counter devices. It also emphasizes the importance of having hearing health professionals available for screenings and fittings, ensuring accessibility to hearing healthcare services.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

The article provides indicators that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:

– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have sought professional help or treatment: This indicator reflects progress towards Target 3.4 by measuring the proportion of individuals with hearing loss who have accessed appropriate healthcare services.

– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have purchased over-the-counter hearing aids: This indicator reflects progress towards Target 3.4 and Target 10.2 by measuring the uptake of over-the-counter hearing aids as an accessible and affordable treatment option.

– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have access to affordable hearing aids: This indicator reflects progress towards Target 10.2 by assessing the affordability and availability of hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss.

– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have access to information about over-the-counter hearing aids: This indicator reflects progress towards Target 10.2 by measuring the accessibility of information and education about over-the-counter hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss.

– Availability of over-the-counter hearing aids in local communities: This indicator reflects progress towards Target 11.7 by assessing the availability and accessibility of over-the-counter hearing aids in local communities.

– Accessibility of hearing health professionals for screenings and fittings: This indicator reflects progress towards Target 11.7 by measuring the accessibility of hearing health professionals for screenings and fittings, ensuring inclusive and accessible hearing healthcare services.

Overall, these indicators can help track progress in addressing hearing loss, reducing inequalities, and promoting inclusive and accessible healthcare services.

4. Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being Target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being – Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have sought professional help or treatment
– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have purchased over-the-counter hearing aids
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status – Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have access to affordable hearing aids
– Percentage of adults with hearing loss who have access to information about over-the-counter hearing aids
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Target 11.7: By 2030, provide universal access

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: cnet.com

 

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