30 September 2019

Living with an untreated disabling hearing loss has a series of negative personal consequences

Most negative personal consequences of a hearing loss can be remedied by professional treatment of the hearing loss. People who treat their disabling hearing loss with hearing aids or hearing implants experience substantial improvement in health and quality of life.

People who live with an untreated disabling hearing loss experience a series of negative consequences in relation to their personal health, social life and economic situation. The use of hearing aids or other hearing solutions eliminates or to a large extent reduces the negative personal consequences of a disabling hearing loss. This is documented in the extensive scientific report “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs” by Professor Emerita Bridget Shield, Brunel University in London with the assistance of Professor Mark Atherton, Brunel University, London.

Physical and mental health

An untreated disabling hearing loss has a series of negative effects on physical and mental health. In the report, it is documented that several medical studies find that an untreated disabling hearing loss increases the risk of depression as well as a series of chronic diseases, e.g. cardiovascular disease. An untreated disabling hearing loss is also related to increased cognitive decline.

Social life

People who live with an untreated disabling hearing loss typically experience fatigue, frailty and social isolation and a reduction of their physical activity. An untreated disabling hearing loss also affects family relationships and can lead to social isolation.

Work life and income

The report demonstrates that there is considerable evidence that people with hearing loss earn, on average, significantly less than people with normal hearing. The report also documents that people with an untreated hearing loss experience higher unemployment rates than people without hearing loss. Finally, early retirement and less demanding jobs mean that the average income of people with hearing loss is below that of people with normal hearing.

Quality of life

In general, an untreated disabling hearing loss has a strong negative impact on quality of life. The more severe the hearing loss, the greater the loss in quality of life, according to the report.

Treating hearing loss helps

People who treat their disabling hearing loss with hearing aids or other hearing solutions typically do not experience the same negative personal consequences.
 
People who treat their hearing loss experience better physical and mental health and do not experience an increased risk of cognitive decline compared to people with normal hearing.

People who use hearing aids or other hearing solutions report better and increased social life and family relations.

Hearing aid users earn significantly more than hearing impaired non-users. The differential between the two groups increases with the severity of the hearing loss and unemployment rates for non-users are approximately twice those of hearing aid users.

Get your hearing checked

“The report documents that an untreated disabling hearing loss has a series of negative personal consequences and that treating hearing loss with hearing aids or hearing implants can remedy or mitigate these negative consequences”, says Secretary General Kim Ruberg, hear-it AISBL, which has published the report.

“If you think you might have a hearing loss, my best advice is to get your hearing checked by having a hearing test carried out by a hearing professional”.

Report
Report ”Hearing Loss - Numbers and Costs” (pdf)
Download press kit about the report (zip-folder)

Living with an untreated disabling hearing loss has a series of negative personal consequences