Purpose: to investigate the relationship between time for treatment seeking and audiometric data and self-assessment of handicap for patients in a public hearing healthcare service. Methods: Retrospective study. Records of 152 elderly and 48 adults with hearing impairment were analyzed. The ISO audiometric thresholds average (500 to 4000Hz) and high frequencies average (2000 to 6000Hz), the speech recognition thresholds and the total, social and emotional scores from the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Adults (HHIA) and Elderly (HHIE) were compared with the time between the onset of hearing complaints and the first treatment seeking. Results: The average time for treatment seeking was 7,6 years. No statistical difference was found between ISO and high frequency audiometric average, HHIA/E scores and time for treatment seeking between adults and the elderly. Weak but significant negative correlations were observed between the audiometric data and time for treatment seeking. There was no relationship between the time for treatment seeking and educational, socioeconomic levels and perception of handicap. Conclusions: The search for treatment seems to be multifactorial. Despite technological advances and changes in access to information and treatment time for treatment seeking was similar to that reported 30 years ago.