In less than 25 years, the number of people with hearing problems in Sweden has increased significantly according to the 2014 annual report from the Swedish organisation for the hearing impaired Hörselskadades Riksforbund, HRF (www.hrf.se). Today, 1,340,000 Swedes aged 16 and up have a hearing loss.
The HRF-report states that in the period 1984-1987, 11.3% of the Swedish population experienced hearing problems. In the period 2004-2007, that number had grown to 14.3% and in 2008-2012 the figure rose to include 17% of all Swedes. This means that the proportion of people with hearing loss has increased by 50% in 25 years.
More than half still in the workforce
Of all hearing-impaired Swedes, 54% are aged 16-64 years. This means that more than half of the hearing-impaired Swedes are to be found in the Swedish work force. This makes hearing loss one of the most common disabilities in the work place. According to HRF, it has become more common for middle-aged people to experience hearing problems and one in five Swedish people aged 45-64 years has a hearing loss.
In the group called “younger elderly” (65-74 years), more than one in four (28%) has a hearing loss. In the age range 75-84, nearly four out of ten (39%) has a hearing loss and from the age of 85 almost every other Swede (46%) suffers from hearing loss.
According to HRF, this development can partially be explained by the fact that our surroundings show worsened conditions when exposed to noise and at the same time the demand for communication in our everyday lives leaves less room for light hearing problems.
More men than women
The annual report also shows that men are more likely to suffer from hearing loss than women. Of all hearing-impaired Swedes, 54 % are men, while 46% are women. The main reason for this, according to HRF, is that men traditionally have to a greater extent been exposed to noise in the work place and in their leisure time than women.
More hearing impaired in the future
The fact that many elderly people have hearing problems will in the future lead to an even higher number of people with hearing loss as the amount of elderly people in the Swedish population is growing.
Source: Myternas Marknad. Svensk hörselvård – från behov til business. Hörselskadades Riksforbund (HRF). Årsrapport 2014. www.hrf.se.