Tuning Into Hearing Health & The Active Ager
by Jeff Weiss
I see age-related stigmas and stereotypes across a wide variety of categories. This translates to major opportunities for brands and businesses willing to and/or with the ability to properly target and engage Active Aging consumers in a meaningful, authentic and relevant way.
If I had to pick one industry most affected by stereotypes, it would be hearing aids. It is no secret that our hearing deteriorates as we get older, yet hearing aids are only used by a fraction of those who need them. While Active Aging consumers are increasingly taking control of their health and wellness to maximize quality of life, stigmas and stereotypes around the Hearing Aid category continue to dampen their willingness to improve their hearing. With a market that’s expected to be worth more than $9 billion (USD) globally by 2024, hearing aid brands have a great opportunity to insert themselves in the health and wellness conversation by better understanding what this audience needs and how they want to be engaged.
Let’s be honest, hearing loss isn’t something Active Agers typically want to think about or admit having themselves. Despite hearing loss prevalence of nearly 30% in adults 50-59 that only increases with age, older adults are hesitant to even get their hearing checked. Our latest research from Revolution55 indicates that nearly 6 in 10 (59%) adults 55+ have either never or rarely had their hearing checked. It’s just one of those things that you would rather ignore than acknowledge.
Only 20% of consumers who can benefit from hearing aids seek them out
It doesn’t help that many people diagnosed with hearing loss put off getting a device. In fact, only 20% of consumers who can benefit from hearing aids seek them out. And of those who do purchase a hearing aid, only half wear them all of the time, while the other half either never wear them or use them only for special occasions.
Clearly the stigmas and stereotypes associated with using a hearing aid are negatively impacting both regular testing and usage rates after diagnosis of hearing loss. Our Revolution55 members (Revolutionaries) told us that the negative stereotypes around these devices are deterring them from becoming potential users. The infographic below highlights key stigmas impacting their thinking.
Hearing loss has a significant impact on the quality of life of Active Aging consumers, potentially interfering with their ability to fully participate in activities and relationships essential to their independence and active lifestyles. Given a general (there are a few exceptions) lack of new thinking in this space by core hearing aid brands, it is no wonder that older consumers are not doing more to pursue better hearing. Based on what we have learned, more engaging ways of highlighting the benefits of testing (and better hearing) would a good starting point.
Interesting in exploring how you might be able to crush the myths associated with hearing aids? Please reach out to schedule an initial call.