In terms of methodology, the present study, “Hearing is Living”, consists of two parts.
The starting point was an international online study involving large numbers of participants. A total of 4,335 people in five countries, aged 45 years and upwards, were surveyed: 867 people (weighted) per country in Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK and the USA (see Figure 1). In a second stage, renowned experts from relevant specialist areas were asked to comment on the study results.
Figure 1: Methodology
The aim of the survey was to explore the importance of hearing in different areas of life. In order to find out what effect hearing has in various contexts, one group of respondents were people who were especially involved with the topic of “hearing” because they themselves are affected by hearing loss. A further distinction was made here between respondents with and without hearing aids (“owners” and “non-owners” of hearing aids). A group of people with normal hearing served as a comparison group (“control group”). And in order to find out something about the significance of hearing within families and partnerships, a fourth group was surveyed: close relatives of people with hearing loss. For the purposes of the study, “close relatives” were defined as partners, children, parents or siblings.
All four groups were asked some of the same questions, and some questions that covered the same ground. From the different responses given by the four groups, we can assess the relative significance of hearing. What is especially interesting here is the comparison of the two groups “with a hearing aid” and “without a hearing aid” – this is the area which highlights the difference between cases of corrected and untreated hearing loss.