02 April 2019

Report: 22.6 million people in the EU live with an untreated, disabling hearing loss

A report finds that there are 34.4 million people with a disabling hearing loss (35 dB or greater) in the EU. More than 22.6 million are not treated for their disabling hearing loss as only around one in three in Europe with a disabling hearing loss use hearing aids or other hearing solutions.

The report, “Hearing Loss - Numbers and Costs”, is a meta study that has analysed and compared hundreds of scientific studies and papers in the last two decades about the prevalence and the consequences of hearing loss and the use and benefits of hearing aids.

The report is compiled for hear-it AISBL by Professor Emerita Bridget Shield, Brunel University in London, with the assistance of Professor Mark Atherton, Brunel University, London.

Costs and consequences

The report concludes that untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 185 billion Euros in the EU each year. Lower quality of life due to disabling hearing loss costs 130 billion Euros each year in the EU. Lost productivity in society due to a higher unemployment among people with a disabling hearing loss costs 55 billion Euros each year in the EU.

There is considerable evidence that people with hearing loss earn, on average, significantly less than people with normal hearing. People with an untreated hearing loss experience higher unemployment rates than people without hearing loss.

Untreated hearing loss has a series of negative physical, mental and social consequences. Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, loneliness and social isolation. Untreated hearing loss also has multiple effects on personal and family relationships.

Hearing aids

The report finds that 35% of people with a hearing loss use hearing aids. The use of hearing aids increases with age and the severity of hearing loss. However, 65% of Europeans with a hearing loss do not use hearing aids.

Hearing aid users are happier, healthier and wealthier, with a better overall quality of life, than hearing impaired people who do not use hearing aids. Hearing aid users report improvements in their overall quality of life and hearing aids have a positive impact upon family relationships.

Report "Hearing Loss - Numbers and Costs"


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