There are 34.4 million adults in the EU with a disabling hearing loss (35 dB or greater). Surveys in a series of European countries show that two out of three Europeans are not treated for their disabling hearing loss. This means that there are 22.6 million adults in the EU living with an untreated, disabling hearing loss.
Furthermore, nearly 10 million people in the EU have a hearing loss of 50 dB or greater and around 5.5 million of these are not treated for their hearing loss. An untreated hearing loss of 50 dB isolates you from friends and family and makes it very difficult to maintain a job and participate in society.
In Europe as a whole, there are 47.9 million adults who are living with a disabling hearing loss.
The figures are based on data used in the report “Hearing loss – Numbers and Costs”, published by hear-it AISBL.
The WHO estimates in its 2021 World Report on Hearing that in the WHO region of Europe 196 million people have some degree of hearing loss and that 57.3 million or 6.2% have a moderate or higher grade of hearing loss. By 2050, 236 million people in Europe will have some degree of hearing loss.
The costs of untreated, disabling hearing loss
Disabling hearing loss (35 dB or greater) costs 185 billion Euros in the EU each year because of lower quality of life and less productivity. Lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss costs 130 billion Euros each year in the EU. Lost productivity in society due to a higher unemployment among people with a disabling hearing loss costs 55 billion Euros each year in the EU.
Use of hearing aids
The EuroTrak Surveys in a series of European countries show that, on average, 35% of people with a hearing loss use hearing aids. The use of hearing aids increases with age and the severity of hearing loss. However, 65% of Europeans with a hearing loss do not use hearing aids.
The report, “Hearing Loss - Numbers and Costs”, is a meta study that has analysed and compared hundreds of scientific studies and papers in the last two decades about the prevalence and the consequences of hearing loss and the use and benefits of hearing aids.
The report is compiled for hear-it AISBL by Professor Emerita Bridget Shield, Brunel University, London with the assistance of Professor Mark Atherton, Brunel University, London.
Table: Number of people in EU countries with a disabling hearing loss (Total and untreated):