T.W.W.GO1, L.H.WONG1, L.X.QUEK1, Y.S.NG1, E.C.HO1
Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
The 2010 Singapore National Health Survey reported that only 3.3% of individuals with at least moderate hearing loss (HL) wore a hearing aid (HA). This study aims to examine factors associated with health-seeking behavior for HA uptake versus corrective eyeglasses uptake among adult hearing-impaired patients and their caregivers in Singapore.
Prospective cross-sectional study. A 14-questions survey comparing perception of HA versus corrective eyeglasses was administered. 153 hearing-impaired patients (mean age: 69) and 90 of their caregivers (mean age: 54) were recruited at a tertiary hospital’s ENT outpatient clinic between July and November 2020.
72% of patients wore HA and 90% also wore corrective eyeglasses. 4% of caregivers wore HA, while 74% wore corrective eyeglasses. 8% of patients and 11% of caregivers will wear HA when diagnosed with mild HL, while 38% of patients and 22% of caregivers will wear corrective eyeglasses when diagnosed with mild vision impairment. 24% of patients and 38% of caregivers were concerned about negative perception by others when using HA, compared to wearing corrective eyeglasses (patients 5.2%; caregivers 6.6%). 30% of patients and 52% of caregivers were concerned with being perceived as older than their real age, followed by 28% of patients and 33% of caregivers were concerned with being perceived as handicapped when wearing HA. For corrective eyeglasses, both patients and caregivers were less concerned with these issues.
HA compared to corrective eyeglasses have a lower level of social acceptance and a higher level of prejudice and stigma amongst those with HL.