18 November 2004

Politicians have their hearing tested

602 politicians and staff in the German parliament have hearing tests in second "Aktion Hörtest".

Germany's Forum Besser Hören was behind a three day event in September, 2004, offering hearing tests to politicians and their staff.

More than 600 politicians and staff - 119 members of parliament and 483 employees - accepted the offer.

The results were almost identical to the results of the first parliamentary hearing screening in 2000. 37 percent of the members of parliament and 29 percent of their employees suffered from mild to severe hearing loss. The higher incidence of hearing loss among the politicians was due to their higher average age.

"The results reflect the hearing loss prevalence in the general German population", said Karsten Mohr of Forum Besser Hören, pointing out that about 15 million people in Germany suffer from hearing loss, but that just 2.5 million have been properly fitted with hearing aids. "A large need exists for information", he added.

Among the members of parliament accepting the offer of a hearing test was Health Minister Ulla Schmidt. She considered the event as an opportunity to raise public awareness about hearing and hearing loss. The health minister has taken an active role in warning young people against the risks from excessive noise.

When compared to the 2000 results, the new numbers indicated that the incidence of unrecognized and untreated hearing loss is largely unchanged. But the interest in having a hearing screening has increased. The number of participants rose by 45 percent.

Source and picture: Forum Besser Hören, September, 2004

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