A study has estimated that the overall global economic costs of hearing loss in 2019 to be more than $981 billion International dollars.
57% of these costs are incurred outside of the high-income regions, including 23% in the East Asia region alone.
Even though children only account for 4.4% of the people with hearing loss, they incur 6.5% of total costs, the study finds.
The authors write in the study that even though the cost estimates are substantial, they are still conservative.
In the study, the economic value associated with lost quality of life, expressed in years lived with disability in 2019, accounted for 47% of the total costs.
Excess non-hearing health care costs in 2019 accounted for 32% of global costs.
Productivity losses for moderately-severe hearing impaired adults in countries and territories in 2019 with full or near full employment accounted for 19% of the costs.
The last 2-3% of the costs are additional educational costs related to hearing loss.
Given the fact that the prevalence of hearing loss is predicted to rise considerably in coming decades, it is likely that its economic impact will continue to rise proportionately, the authors write.
In the study, a scenario analysis showed that a 5% reduction in prevalence of hearing loss would reduce global costs by $49 billion.
About the study
The study used hearing loss data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease study. Additional non-hearing related health care costs, educational support, lost productivity and societal costs posed by lost quality of life were determined. All costs were reported in 2019 purchasing power parity (PPP) adjusted international dollars.
The article, "Estimating the global costs of hearing loss", was published in the International Journal of Audiology.
Sources: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the International Journal of Audiology