Lack of hearing loss treatment costs billions

Hearing impaired people on disability cost the Swedish society more than SKR5 billion a year.

Hearing impaired people on disability cost the Swedish society more than SKR5 billion a year, according to a study conducted by the Swedish hearing association, HRF. This high cost to society could be reduced by emphasizing earlier and better counselling and treatment.

The cost to society of a person on disability is five times the cost of taking the necessary steps to keep a hearing impaired person employed, according to an HRF estimate.

Treatment saves

The disability payments amount to approximately SKR 100.000 whereas the cost of rehabilitation and assistive equipment is less than SKR 20.000. In other words, relatively small investments may significantly reduce society's expenses related to hearing impaired people.

If they received appropriate assistance many hearing impaired people would be able to keep their jobs and function well in the workplace instead of becoming candidates for disability payments. But many are forced out of the labour market as they struggle to overcome the challenges from their hearing loss.

Approximately 12 percent of hearing impaired people of working age receive disability. This is twice the rate among the general population. Hearing impaired women, in particular, find it hard to stay in the labour market. Almost one in five of them (19.4 percent) are on disability.

Source: Hörselskadedes Riksförbund (HRF), Annual Report 2003.