In the EU, around 52 million people report having a hearing loss. The costs in the EU of not treating hearing loss is around 178 billion Euros every year. The societal costs of treating hearing loss are extremely low compared to the cost of NOT treating hearing loss. It’s a sound investment.
March 3 is the official WHO World Hearing Day. Hearing loss is one of the disorders that both affects most people and has a great impact on people’s lives and health. But hearing loss is also among the disorders that can be treated and prevented most efficiently and cost effectively.
Several surveys in Europe have shown that between 10-12% of all adults self-report that they have a hearing loss. This means that more than 52 million people in the EU will say they have a hearing loss.
On a world-wide basis, the WHO has found that unaddressed hearing loss, using their figures on the prevalence of measured hearing loss, poses a high cost for the economy globally, namely $750 billion annually. In the EU, the societal cost of untreated hearing loss is therefore estimated to be 178 billion Euros each year.
“There is a saying that says “What is saved is earned”. But in the case of hearing loss small investments in prevention and treatment of hearing loss leads to major savings. We must take action for untreated hearing loss. It is a sound investment.”, says EHIMA General Secretary Soeren Hougaard.
“First of all, it is important to prevent hearing loss. Especially protection against loud noise and loud sounds is important. At the workplace but also more and more in our leisure time. But far more people can be treated for their hearing loss and thereby increase their quality of life. Today there are many people who live with an untreated hearing loss“, says AEA president Mark Laureyns.
Among the major costs of not treating hearing loss are increased health care costs. It is documented that hearing loss is associated with depression, cognitive decline and dementia. Another major societal cost of untreated hearing loss is increased unemployment, premature retirement and lower tax revenues and other societal cost because of withdrawal, communication difficulties and social isolation. Furthermore, untreated hearing loss results in additional educational support and costs.
Benefits of treatment
“Society will benefit to a large scale from increased hearing loss treatment. Society will get enormous benefits from reduced costs to health care, unemployment benefits and pensions and other social costs, and at the same time get increased tax revenues. The societal costs of treating hearing loss are extremely low compared to the cost of NOT treating hearing loss”, says EFHOH vice-president Lidia Best.