World Hearing Day and the Cost of Untreated Hearing Loss

Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World Hearing Day on March 3rd, by bringing awareness to the importance of hearing health. This year, the theme of the day is “Check Your Hearing”. The messages from the WHO are that people should get their hearing checked from time to time to prevent further hearing issues that occur if we’re exposed to excess noise and as we age, and that services for early identification and intervention should be made available through the health system.

Something important to consider on this day is the cost of untreated hearing loss. A recent scientific report, “Hearing Loss—Numbers and Costs” concludes that untreated disabling hearing loss costs the EU a surprising EU 185 billion Euros each year. The costs arise from two areas: 1). lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss, adding up to EU 130 billion Euros spent annually, and 2). lost productivity in society due to higher unemployment among people with disabling hearing loss, accounting for a loss of EU 55 billion Euros each year. These numbers are staggering.

According to the study, 34.4 million people in the EU suffer from a disabling hearing loss (which is defined as a hearing loss greater than 35dB.) However, more than 22.6 million go untreated, as only one in three Europeans with a disabling hearing loss use hearing aids or other hearing solutions. The report affirms that the use of hearing aids and other hearing solutions improve health and increase quality of life, while people who go untreated are at a greater risk of social isolation, depression and cognitive decline.

Checking your hearing has many major health benefits, and, as seen with the study mentioned above, it has potential massive economic benefits. Something to keep in mind this World Hearing Day. Stay healthy!



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