11.1% of the population of Europe, or 58.5 million people, would say they have a hearing loss, according to calculations based on the EuroTrak surveys on hearing and hearing loss that have been carried out in a number of European countries.
Figures from the latest EuroTrak studies show that 53.4% of Europeans aged 65 years and older self-report having a hearing loss. 20% of the population in Europe are 65 years or older.
The latest EuroTrak surveys comprise of 11 European countries. In total, 158,180 people have been interviewed and 14,306 people in the surveys said that they had a hearing loss.
The EuroTrak surveys are designed and carried out by the Swiss analysis firm Anovum on behalf of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA).
Some specific countries
Italy has the highest percentages of people aged 65 or older (23.1% of the population) and has the second highest prevalence of self-reported hearing loss (12.2%).
Ireland is at the lower end with a prevalence of self-reported hearing loss of 7.6% and a percentage of the population 65 years or older of 14.5%.
Poland has a much higher prevalence of self-reported hearing loss, relative to what one would expect based on the percentage of the population who are 65 or older.
Switzerland has a lower prevalence of hearing loss than expected as 18.5% of the population are 65 or older. Based on a European average, it would be expected that 9.9% of the population would self-report hearing problems, while the figure is only 7.7% in the latest EuroTrak survey from Switzerland.
Use of hearing aids
In the latest 11 EuroTrak surveys, 53% of those who self-reported hearing loss were diagnosed by a medical professional to be hearing aid candidates and were referred to hearing care professionals. In total, 39% of the people with self-reported hearing loss started using hearing aids.
When the hearing loss is recognised, 75% consult a medical professional (mostly their general practitioner or ENT specialist) for their hearing problems. The medical professionals refer 70% of these people to a hearing care professional. Finally, 73% of the people with a hearing care referral start using hearing aids.
The table below shows the number of people in 30 European countries who report or would self-report a hearing loss, depending on a survey in the specific country or an estimate based on findings from the surveys in the other countries.
Source: “Getting the numbers right on Hearing Loss, Hearing Care and Hearing Aid Use in Europe”, Joint AEA, EFHOH, EHIMA report, June 2020