The detailed findings and conclusions in a new report from hear-it AISBL – ‘Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs’ – will be presented at a lunch debate at the European Parliament in Brussels on 6 March in connection with World Hearing Day on Sunday 3 March. Lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss in the UK costs £16.5 billion each year. Lost productivity in the UK due to higher unemployment among people with a disabling hearing loss costs £9 billion each year. In total, this is £25.5 billion. The cost does not cover extra health care costs caused by hearing loss.
In the EU, untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 185 billion Euros each year. A disabling hearing loss is defined by the Global Burden of Disease research group (GBD) as a hearing loss greater than 35dB.
The report documents that the use of hearing aids and other hearing solutions improves health and increases quality of life. It also highlights that people with an untreated, disabling hearing loss are at greater risk of social isolation, depression, cognitive decline and dementia, while people who treat their hearing loss do not experience a higher risk than people without hearing loss.
There are 4.5 million people with a disabling hearing loss (>35 dB) in the UK. Around 3 million are not treated for their disabling hearing loss as only around one in three in Europe with a disabling hearing loss use hearing aids or other hearing solutions. With a steadily ageing population who live longer and longer and with an earlier onset of hearing loss due to increased noise exposure, this growth will increase even further in the years to come.
The report, “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs”, is a meta study which has analysed and compared hundreds of scientific studies and papers in the last two decades about the prevalence and consequences of hearing loss and the use and benefits of hearing aids.