The health benefits of professional hearing care and the costs of untreated hearing loss will be presented and discussed at a lunch debate on March 1st, at the European Parliament building in Brussels. The title of the seminar is “Hearing awareness. Professional Hearing Care Makes You Smarter and Healthier”. The seminar is being held on the occasion of WHO World Hearing Day, March 3rd.
One in ten has untreated hearing loss
Around 16-17% of all adults have a hearing loss, when measured with a hearing test. Unfortunately, only around one in three Europeans treat their hearing loss with professional hearing care. This means that 10% of all adult Europeans live with an untreated hearing loss.
The benefits of professional hearing care
Several scientific studies in recent years have shown that professional hearing care makes people with hearing loss healthier than if the hearing loss is left untreated. The studies also document that if you do not treat your hearing loss you have an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. The studies furthermore document that you have an increased risk of depression, psychosis and even an earlier death if you leave your hearing loss untreated.
On the positive side, the surveys and studies have also found that those who use professional hearing care do not experience the same cognitive decline, live longer and experience an increased quality of life. They are also less depressed, less exhausted and tend to sleep better.
Other studies and surveys in Europe and the US have found that people with hearing loss who are treated through professional hearing care have a higher income and are less likely to be unemployed or opt for early retirement than those who do not treat their hearing loss.
Hosts and speakers
The lunch debate, which is open to all, is hosted by MEP Helga Stevens (Belgium) and MEP Ádam Kósà (Hungary).
The speakers are:
Dr. Shelly Chadha, WHO hearing officer,
Lazlo Gabor Lovászy, The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
Professor Hélène Amieva, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, France,
Paul Breckell from Action on Hearing Loss (UK),
Sue Archbold, Ear Foundation,
Lidia Smolarek-Best, EFHOH,
Mark Lauryens, AEA.
The lunch debate is arranged by EFHOH (European Federation of the Hard of Hearing), AEA, (Association of the European Hearing Aid Professionals) and EHIMA (European Hearing Instruments Manufacturers Association).
“Professional hearing care makes good sense both for the individual and for society”, said EFHOH president Marcel Bobeldijk.
“The personal advantages of professional hearing care for the hearing impaired person are so obvious and at the same time professional hearing care is cost-efficient for society. The costs saved for society on other types of health care, less taxes paid, pensions and other social expenditures are enormous compared to the cost of treating more people with professional hearing care,” said AEA president Mark Laureyns.