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One in six suffering from hearing loss

Just a small minority of people needing hearing aids use them even though hearing aids can be vital for holding employment and improve quality of life.

One in six suffering from hearing loss

Sixteen percent of adult Europeans suffer from hearing loss great enough to adversely affect their daily life. This is much higher than the previously generally assumed prevalence of 10 percent.

In Europe, about 71 million adults aged 18 to 80 years have a hearing loss greater than 25 dB, the definition of hearing impairment recognised by the World Health Organisation, WHO. In the EU alone, the number of people with hearing loss is more than 55 million.

The data on hearing loss in Europe is reported in the scientific Survey, Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment.

Hearing loss affects every family. It has now been documented that one in six adults suffers from hearing loss and that only a fraction of those with hearing impairment actually use hearing aids. This is sad, because hearing loss is inexpensive to treat, and surveys have demonstrated that modern hearing aids promote general well-being and improve the quality of life of those who use them, says Kim Ruberg, Secretary General, Hear-it AISBL.

One in six use hearing aids

According to the report, just one in six of those who could benefit from using hearing aids is being treated with hearing aids.

Numerous scientific surveys show that the satisfaction among hearing aid users is high, and several studies have concluded that the use of hearing aids causes significant improvement in the quality of life.

Hearing loss in different countries

The report findings make it possible to calculate the numbers of people with hearing impairment in any given region or area in Europe and other industrialised nations.

Some examples:

  • Germany: 10.2 million
  • France: 7.6 million
  • United Kingdom: 7.5 million
  • Italy: 7.2 million
  • Spain: 5.5 million
  • Poland: 4.7 million
  • The Netherlands: 2 million

Source: Evaluation of the Social and Economic Costs of Hearing Impairment, October 2006, by Bridget Shield for Hear-it AISBL

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